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THE 



BENCH AND BAR 



OF 



GEORGIA: 



MEMOIRS Am SKETCHES. 



ISilh ait %i^^n6h, 



CONTAINING A COURT ROLL FROM 1790 TO 1857, ETC. 



BT 

STEPHEN P. MILLER. 



VOLUME L 



PHILADELPHIA: 
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO. 

1858 



2rt?iS>^ 




CCja . I. )C^S . 




£nter«d •coording to Act of OoDgreas, in the year 1858, by 

J. B. LIPPINOOIT * 00. 

in the Clerk*a Office of the District Grrart of the United Statee for the Eastern District of 

PennsylTuiia. 





CONTENTS OF VOL. I. 



CHAPTER I. 



PAOl 



GfiORQi D. Ahdbsson — Bom in Soath Carolinft — RemoTal of Parents to 
Georgia — Labors as a Mechanic in the Manufacture of Cotton-Oins — 
Studies Law — ^Admitted to the Bar — Partnership with J. M. Calhoun, Esq., 
at Decatur — Elected Colonel of the Regiment — Appointed Brigade-In- 
spector — Appointed by President Van Buren Commissioner to investigate 
alleged Frauds on the Indians in Alabama — Bepresentatiye in the Legis- 
lature from De Kalb — Removes to Marietta — Senator from Cobb County 
— ^Elected Solicitor-Qeneral of the Coweta Circuit — Elected Judge of the 
Cherokee Circuit — Sudden Death at Spring Place in 1848 — Proceedings of 
the Bar — His Character, &c 17 

CHAPTER n. 

Robert Augustus Beall — Native of Maryland — ^Removal of Parents to 
Georgia in 1808 — Completes Education at Raleigh, North Carolina — 
Studies Law in Augusta under Judges Reid and Montgomery — Admission 
to the Bar — Locates in Marion — Partnership with Col. T. G. Holt — Ap- 
pointed Solicitor-General by Gov. Troup— |D'u<e>l With Thomas D. Mitchell 
— ^Elected to the Legislature in 1825 and* 1826-— Supports the Administra- 
tion of Gov. Troup— Appointed Aide-de-Camp to Maj. Gen. Wimberly — 
Counsel for Judge Fort in 1827 — Marriage in 1828^Partnership with 
S. F. Miller — ^Elected again to the Legislature in 1880 — His course in that 
body — Resolutions on the Tariff, and in favor of President Jackson — 
Appointed Aide-de-Camp to Gov. Gilmer — Removes to Macon in 1882 — 
Partnership with Col. Seymour — Delegate to the Anti-Tariff Convention — 
Elected BHgadier-General — Serves on the Committee at the State-Rights 
Meeting in November, 1888 — Edits the Georgia Messenger — Defeated for 
Congress by Gen. Glascock — Character as an Advocate and Debater — Re- 
nounces Skepticism and joins the Church — Health declines — Lingering 
Illness — His Death in 1886 — Funeral Honors — Testimonials of the Bar, 
Literary Societies, &c 21 

CHAPTER III. 

John BIacphbbsoii Bbbbibn, LL.D. — Huguenot Ancestry — Bom in New 

Jersey in 1781 — ^Removal of Parents to Georgia — Graduates at Princeton 

at the age of fifteen years — Classmate of Judge Gaston — Reads Law with 

8 



CONTENTS. 



PA6B 



the Hon. Joseph Clay — Admitted to the Bar in 1799 — Elected Solicitor- 
Qoneral iu 1809 — Judge of the Eastern Circnit in 1810 — Declares tho Alle- 
Tiating Law unconstitutional — Commands a Volunteer Regiment of Cavalry 
in the War of 1812 — Conduct touching the Sentence of Hopkins viDdicated 
by the Legislature in 1818 — Twelve years Judge of the Superior Court — 
Elected a State Senator from Chatham County in 1822 and 1823 — Proposes 
Digest of the Laws of England in force in Georgia — Elected to the Senate 
of the United States in 1824— Takes his Seat March 4, 1825— Delivers bis 
Discourse on Eloquence at Athens in 1828 — In January, 1829, submits 
Georgia Protest against the Tariff — Resigns his Seat in Senate — Appointed 
Attorney-General of the United States, March, 1829 — Address before the 
Societies of Princeton College in 1830 — Degree of Doctor of Laws con- 
ferred by that Institution*— Resigns Office in the Cabinet in 1831 — Corre- 
spondence with President Jackson — Returns to Georgia — Serves in the 
Free-Trade Convention at Philadelphia in 1831 — Author of the Address to 
the People of the United States — Reception at Milledgeville in November, 
1831 — Practises Law in the Supreme Court at Washington — Appears at 
the Anti-Tariff Convention in Milledgeville, 1882 — Prepares the Report of 
the Committee of Twenty-One — Appointed by the Governor in 1838 on a 
Special Commission — Extracts from the Report — Again elected to the 
United States Senate in 1840 — Support of Whig Measures — Report on 
the Bill to repeal the Bankrupt Law — The Legislature of Georgia censures 
his course in 1841 — Same body expresses Its full approbation in 1843 and 
assures him of tho public confidence — Attends the National Whig Conven- 
tion at Baltimore in 1844 — Chairman of the Committee to notify Mr. Clay 
of his Nomination — Speech in Boston on the Tariff in 1844 — Resigns his 
Seat in the Senate in 1845—18 immediately re-elected, and prevailed on to 
accept — Address to his political friends on the occasion — Declines being a 
Candidate for the Bench of the Supreme Court of Georgia — Re-elected to 
the Senate in 1847 — Position in 1848 relative to Mr. Clay and General 
Taylor — Letter to Col. Owen — Opposes the Public Reception of Kossuth 
in 1851 — Other Measures discussed — Death of Mrs. Berrien in February, 
1852 — Resigns his Seat in the Senate, May, 1852 — Appears as Counsel in 
the Supreme Court of Georgia in the Bank Cases — Issues an Address in 
Defence of the American Party, September, 1855 — Presides at the State 
Convention of the Party in December, 1855— His Illness at Milledgeville 
— Return to Savannah — His Death, January 1, 1856 — Testimonials of 
Respect to his Memory — Proceedings of the Bar in the Supreme Court — 
Resolutions of Condolence and Respect in the Legislature — A New County 
named ** Berrien" — Tribute fh>m the American Bible Society — His Cha- 
racter 44 

CHAPTER IV. 
1 

Edward J. Black — Bom in South Carolina — Goes to School in Augusta- 
Studies Law, and admitted to the Bar in 1827 — Practises with Judge 
Beid — ^Writes Humorous Articles for the Press — Sharpness in Debate — 
Marriage with Miss Eirkman, of Barnwell District — Elected to the Legis- 
lature in 1829 and 1830 — Proposes to remove State University from 
Athens to Milledgeville— ** Bucket Letters"- Defeated for Attorney- 
General in 1831— Elected to Congress by the Whigs in 1838— Supports 
Mr. Van Buren for President in 1840 — Remains six years in Congress, 




C0NTRNT6. 46 

PAGI 

from 1889 to I84&— Repatation in I>ebate — Bold and independent as a 
Politioian — Social Qoalities — Fine Perception of the Ludicrous — Objects to 
all Parade and Mannerism in Society — Uniform Patron of Merit — Mind 
depressed by Symptoms of Consumption — Taste for Music — Power of 
Mimicry — Fond of Anecdotes — Kindness to the Poor — Last Illness — 
Resignation to his Fate— Death in 1849 110 

CHAPTER V. 

DuxoAH G. Campbkll — Native of North Carolina — Graduates at Chapel Hill 
Uniyersity in 1806 — Remores to Georgia — Takes charge of a Female Aca- 
demy in Wilkes County — Reads Law with Judge Grififin and succeeds to 
his Practice — ^Elected Solicitor-General in 1816 — Representative in the 
Legislature three years — Partnership with Gamett Andrews — In 1824 
appointed by President Monroe a Commissioner to negotiate Treaty with 
Creek Indians — Failure of Treaty at Broken Arrow, December, 1824 — 
Conclusion of Treaty at the Indian Springs, February, 1825 — Corre- 
spondence with Got. Troup and the Secretary of War — Indian Disturb- 
ances — ^Death of Mcintosh — Mission of Gen. Gaines — Conduct of the 
Agent for Indian Affairs — Investigation by Georgia Commissioners — Con- 
troversy between Gov. Troup and the President — Abstract of the Corre- 
spondence—Good Faith of the Treaty established — Successful Issue — Acts 
as Trustee of the University — Advocate of Female Education — Prospects 
for Governor — His Death in 1828 — Domestic Matters — Sketch of his Son, 
Mr. Justice Campbell, of the Supreme Court of the United States 115 

CHAPTER VI. 

AuousTiir S. Clayton — Bom in Virginia — Parents remove to Georgia — 
Augustin becomes a Student in the Richmond Academy — Receives a Book 
firom Gen. Washington as the Reward of Merit — Graduates at Franklin 
College in 1804 — ^Reads Law with Judge Cames — Is licensed to practise, 
and locates in Franklin County — Marriage with Miss Julia Cames — Re- 
moves to Athens — Compiles the Laws of Georgia fh>m 1800 to 1810 — 
Elected Judge of the Superior Court in 1819 and in 1822— Defeated by 
the Clark Party in 1826— Writes the Mysterious Picture — Literary Ad- 
dress at Athens in 1828 — ^Again elected Judge in 1828 — Case of the Mis- 
sionaries — Troubles in the Gold-Region — Beaten for Re-election in 1881 — 
Immediately elected to Congress — Opposition to the Tariff — Letter to the 
Globe — Moves for a Committee to investigate United States Bank — Speech 
on the Subject — List of British Stockholders — Approves the Removal of 
the Deposits— Letter reviewing the action of former Secretaries of the 
Treasury — Report on the Public Lands — Serves in the Anti-Tariff State 
Convention in 1882 — Chairman of the Committee of Thirteen at the great 
State-Riglits Meeting in 1888 — Reports the Platform — ^Re>elected to Con- 
gress — ^Voluntarily retires in 1835— -Devotes himself to Factory Operations 
— Literary Employments — ^Trustee and warm supporter of the University 
of Georgia — Is attacked with Paralysis in 1888 — Partial Restoration — 
Investigates the Evidences of Christianity — Unites with the Church — Tes- 
timony in favor of Religion — His Death in 1889 — Extracts from the 
Funeral IMscourse of Rev. Whiteford Smith — Tributes of the Press and of 
Literary Societies — Character for Wit, Benevolence, and the Domestic 
Affeotions — Letter of Chancellor Kent ^ 189 



6»t CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER Vn. 



r.KQt 




Paul Coalson — Birth in 1799 — Goes to the School of Dr. Church, at Eaton- 
ton — Enters Franklin College — Gradoates in 1824 — Reads Law with 
Jndge Clayton — Admitted to the Bar — Marries Miss Blackshear in 1825 
— Removes to Thomas County — Influential Family Connection — Obtains a 
good Practice — His Social Qualities — Extent of the Southern Circuit — 
Members of the Florida Bar — John Taylor — The Sulky-Race — Professional 
Zeal— Hospitality of Mr. Coalson— His Death in 1830— Proceedings of Bar 198 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Walter T. Colquitt — Bom in Virginia — ^Parents remove to Hancock 
County, Georgia — Walter sent to School at Mount Zion — Progress in 
Learning — Activity in Sports — Goes to Princeton, New Jersey, and wears 
a Hat of Rabbit-Skins — Returns home, owing to Illness of his Father — 
Reads Law with Col. Rockwell— Admitted to the Bar in 1820— First 
locates at Sparta and then in Walton County — Elected Brigadier-General 
— Runs for Congress and is nearly elected in 1826 — Elected by the Legis- 
lature first Judge of the Chattahoochee Circuit in 1826 — Reference to his 
Decision by Gov. Forsyth — ^Re-elected Judge in 1829 — Senator from Mus- 
cogee County in 1834 and 1837 — Elected a Representative to Congress in 
1838 by the Whig Party — Refuses to support Gen. Harrison for President 
— Is re-elected to Cong^ss in 1840 and 1842 — At the session of 1842 
elected by the Legislature a Senator in Congress — Supports the Mexican 
War — Exertions in the Presidential Canvass — Influence over Public 
Assemblies — Styl^ of Oratory original — Success before Juries — Southern 
Rights in 1850 and 1861 — Delegate to the Nashville Convention — Resolu- 
tions of that Body — Efforts to establish the Compromise Line — Honest 
and fearless in his aims — Religious Character — The Pulpit and Social 
Freedom contrasted — Motives often misconceived — General Benevolence — 
Family Relations — Inroads of Disease — Starts for Montvale Springs — 
Dies at Macon in 1865— Public Grief — Proceedings of the Bar of the 
Supreme Court 202 

CHAPTER IX. 

William H. Crawford — ^Bom in Virginia in 1772 — Parents came to South 
Carolina in 1779, and thence to Georgia in 1783 — After diligent prepara- 
tion, William teaches School — Studies the Classics under Dr. Wad del — 
Becomes his Assistant — Unites with Mr. Tait in the Richmond Academy 
— Comes to the Bar in 1799 — Settles in Lexington — Marries Miss Gardine 
— Compiles the Georgia Statutes — Duel with Van Allen — Represents Ogle- 
thorpe in the Legislature — Conduct of Judge Tait vindicated — Duel with 
Gen. Clark — Commission to ascertain 86th degree of North Latitude- 
Offers Resolutions in 1806 requesting President Jefferson to serve a 
third term, which are unanimously adopted by the Georgia Legislature — 
Elected to the United States Senate in 1807 — Appointed Minister to 
France — Interview with the Emperor Napoleon — Letters to Mr. Clay, at 
Ghent — Appointed Secretary of War in 1815 — ^Appointed Secretary of 
the Treasury in 1816 — Administration of the Finances until March 8, 
1825— Is a Candidate for President in 1824 — Attack of Paralysis — 
Mr. Adams elected President — Letter of Mr. Jefferson — Return to Georgia 
— Pablio Dinner at MiUedgeville in November, 1826— Appointed Judge of 



CONTENTS. 



PAOI 



the Northern Circuit in 1827— Elected to the same Office by the Legisla- 
tore in 1827, 1828, and 1831 — His tenacious Memory — Chairman of the 
Conyention of Judges — Social Correspondence with Henry Clay — Letter 
to C. J. IngersoU on United States Bank — Death on the Circuit in 1884 — 
His Character— Votes of Electoral College in Georgia from 1788 to 1866.. 218 

CHAPTER X. 

William Cbookeb — North Carolina his natiye State— Comes to Georgia in 
Early Manhood — Marriage with Miss Long — Teaches School — Studies Law 
under Judge Early — Licensed to practise by Judge Cames in 1810 — ^En- 
gages in Merchandise — Unsuccessful — Resumes his School — Settles in 
Twiggs County — Obtains large Business — Members of the Bar frt>m 1811 
to 1825— Seyeral times elected to the Legislature — Appointed Judge- 
AdTOcate — ^Exploits of Sword in the hands of Sergeant M. — Visit of 
Gen. La Fayette to MilledgeTille — La Fayette Volunteers, from Twiggs — 
Birals at the Bar in Marion — Judge Fort and others — Character of B. A. 
Erans— Major Crocker acquires a large Property — RetirA from the Bar 
— Names of Children — His Death in 1885 — Reputation and Personal 
Appearance 247 

CHAPTER XI. 

William C. Dawson — Bom in Greene County — Educated at the Academy 
of Rey. Dr. Cumming — Graduates at Franklin College in 1816 — Reads 
Law with Judge Cobb — ^Attends the Law-School of Judges Reeye and 
Gould at litchfield, Connecticut — Admitted to the Bar in 1818 — Opens an 
Office at Greensboro — Marries Miss Wingfield — ^Rapidly adyances in his 
Profession — Elected Clerk of the House of Representatiyes in 1821 — Sup- 
ports Goy. Troup and the Old Treaty — Compiles Laws of Georgia in 1830 — 
Elected to the Legislature— Efforts in behalf of State-Rights — Mandate of 
the Supreme Court of the United States disregarded — Raises a Volunteer 
Company and seryes under General Scott in 1836 — Elected a Representa- 
tiye to Congress in 1836, 1838, and 1840— Nominated for Goyemor in 
1841 — Defeated by Goy. McDonald — Resigns his Seat in Congress — Table 
of Votes for Goyemor from 1825 to 1856 — Appointed Judge of the Supe- 
rior Court by Goy. Crawford in 1846 — Elected to the Senate of the United 
States in 1847 — His Course in that Body — Opposes the Formal Reception 
of Kossuth — Speeches on yarious subjects — On the Bill granting Lands to 
Iowa for Railroads — On the Homestead Bill — Urges Claim of Dr. Long to 
the Discoyery of Practical Ansesthesia to be used for Surgical Operations 
in the Army — Presents Resolutions of the Legislature on Nebraska to the 
Senate — Explanation as to <* Whig Caucus" — Speech on " Log- Rolling'* in 
the Legislation of Congress — Social Letters — Great Humor and Urbanity — 
Retires from the Senate March 4, 1855— Domestic Relations — His Death, 
May 5, 1856— Funeral Ceremomes — Manifestation of Sorrow and Respect 
by the Masonic Lodges — Proceedings in the Supreme Court — Additional 
Sketch by Judge Nisbet 200 

CHAPTER XII. 

SsABomx Dklk — Early Life unknown — Son of Dayld Delk, Esq., the first 
Clerk of Wilkinson Superior Court — Sprightly Talents — ^Neat and ready 



8 COKTENTS. 



PAOK 



Penmanship — Skill in Legal Forms — ^Reads Law with Judge Warren — 
Admitted to the Bar by Judge Kenan in 1828— Opens an Office at Irwin- 
ton — ^Elected Colonel of the Wilkinson Regiment — Legal Associates — 
Marriage with Miss Coats, of Laurens, in 1831 — Remoyes to Marion in 
1882 — Rides the Southern Circuit — Bold and Success Ail — ^Pushes himself 
into Cases — ^Ambitious of Gain — Personal Difficulty — Correspondence — 
Mediation of Migor Howard — Publicity to the Affair — Letter of Judge 
Qaston — Col. Delk assaults his Adyersary with intent to murder — 
Criminal Prosecution — Friends interpose — Amicable relations restored 
— Nolle prosequi entered — Change of Politics — His Death in 1884 — 
Character 818 

CHAPTER Xm. 

John M. Doolt — Ancestors from North Carolina — J. M. Dooly bom in 
Lincoln County, Georgia — His Father killed by the Tories in the Revo- 
lution — Early Life not ascertained — Solicitor-General in 1802 by Execu- 
tire Appointment — ^Elected to the same Office by the Legislature in 1804 
— A Representatiye from Lincoln County — Irregular Habits — Defence 
of Medical Students — ^Wit and Sarcasm — Variety of Anecdotes — Breaks 
a Faro-Bank — Challenged by Judge Tait — Equality in the Duel — Elected 
Judge of the Western Circuit in 1816 — Judge of the Northern Circuit 
in 1822 and 1825— His Death in 1827— Description of his Person- 
Letters of Goy. Gilmer, A. Pope, Esq., Judge Andrews, Judge Thomas, 
and Dr. ^ppey, giying incidents — Remarkable Gifts — Character 881 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Pbtbr Early — Bom in Virginia, 1778 — Father remoyes to Georgia in 1795 
— Peter graduates at Princeton College — Studies Law under Mr. Inger- 
soll in Philadelphia — ^After thorough Preparation, comes to the Bar — 
Strong Competition — Rapid Adyancement — Elected to Congress in 1802 
— Seryes on the Committee with Mr. Randolph to impeach Judge Chase 
— Retires from Congress in 1807 — Elected Judge of the Superior Court 
without opposition — Dignity and Force of his Judicial Administration — 
In 1818 is elected Goyemor — Firmness in the War — Sagacity of his 
Measures — Alleriation Law — Veto-Message — Defeated for Goyemor in 
1816 — Retires to his Farm in Greene County — Seryes in the State Senate 
— Domestic Relations — His Death in 1822^Letters to Gen. Blackshear 
referred to, &c 845 

APPENDIX. 

Gin. David Blackshkab — Ancestors fh>m Germany — Came to America 
in 1782 — Settle on Trent Riyer in North Carolina — Hardships of Forest 
Life — Toil rewarded by Success — ^Dayid Blackshear born in 17G4 — Goes to 
School three Months — Follows his Brothers in the War of the Reyolution 
— Present at the Battle of Moore's Creek in 1776 — Also at Buford's Bridge 
— His Eldest Brother, James Blackshear, killed by the Tories — Sudden 
Reyenge — Goes three Months more to School — Education completed in 
six Montbi! — Learns Sunr^ing — ^Winter Expeditions to Georgia as a 
Sunreyor — Works on the Farm — Removes to Georgia in 1790 — Names of 
Brothers and Sisters — Appointed Justice of the Peace in 1796— Major of 




CONTENTS. 



PAOI 



Battalion — Orders in 1797 with prospect of war with Franoe— Indian 
Troables — Letter of Governor Jackson in 1799 — Exercises Military and 
Ciyil Power — Appointed Major of Brigade — Marriage with Fanny Hamil- 
ton in 1802 — Family Connection — District Sorreyors in 1806 between 
Oconee and Ocmnlgee — Tazoo Frand denounced by the Legislature in 
1807 — Appointed Brigadier-General in 1812 — Ordered to protect the Fron- 
tier — ^Erection of Forts near the Oomulgee — Detail of Militia — Active 
Operations — Command of the Army tendered by Gov. Early — Orders to 
Subordinates — ^Expedition to Flint River — Letters from Major-Genend 
Mcintosh — Rumor of large British Force at Forbes's Store— CoL Haw- 
kins's Indian Regiment — Movements of Gen. Jackson near New Orleans 
— Georgia Detachment ordered to Mobile— Marching and Counter- 
marching — ^Landing of the British near Darien — Ordered to the Sea- 
coast — Letters to Gen. Floyd— Scarcity of Supplies — March down the 
Ocmulgee— Panic south of the Altamaha — High Waters on Route — 
Arrives at Fort Barrington — Recruits the Army — Takes possession of 
Darien — Orders to prevent Pillage by the Enemy — British Fleet near 
St Mary's — Fort and Magazine at Point Petre destroyed — Negroes 
enticed by the British — ^Admiral Cockbum — News of the Victory at New 
Orleans — Intelligence of Peace from the Secretary of War — Cessation of 
Hostilities — ^Demonstration of Joy in Savannah — Troops disbanded, 
February 27, 181&— Military Correspondence— Gen. Blackshear returns 
to his Farm — Thanks voted by the Legislature — Oconee Navigation — 
Public Spirit — Service in the Legislature — Chairman of Committee on the 
State of the Republic — Influence— Withdraws from Public Life in 1825— 
Resignation as Brigadier-General — Letter from Governor Troup— Conduct 
of Judge Fort investigated by the Legislature — Social Correspondence — 
Letters from Members of Congress, Dr. Moses Waddel, &c. &c. — ^Presi- 
dential Elector— Family Record— His Death, July 4, 1837— Charac- 
ter, &c 856 

INDEX 

To the Documents and Correspondence attached to the Memoir of General Blaok- 
SHKAB. [Where several Despatches or Letters appear between the same parties, 
only one of them is referred to in the Index.] 

OFnOIAL PAPBBS. 

PAOB 

Adams, Major-General — Orders for Frontier Service 414 

Barnard, Timothy — Transmission of Despatches ; 448 

Blackshear, Lt Col. — Disorders in Militia 418 

Calhoun, Secretary of War — Claims for Military Service 467 

Carter, Army-Contractor — Escort for Supplies 428 

Early, Governor — Tendering Command of the Army 416 

Fannin, Quartermaster — Deposit of Rations 452 

Fauche, Adjutant-General — Prospect of War, 1797 408 

Floyd, Brigadier-General — Defence of the Islands 460 

Freeman, Secretary of Executive Department — Army Intelligence 408 

Groce, Captain — Organizing First-Class Militia 480 

Hawkins, Colonel — Message to Indian Chiefs 444 

Hopkins, Major — Disposing of Command after Peace 468 

Irwin, Governor — Indian Troubles on the Oconee 414 



10 CONTENTS. 

Jaekaon, OoTomor — Indian Trespasses and Bemedj 405 

Lamar, Secretary of EzecntiTe Department — Becemng Gen. La Fajette 480 

Lane, Captain — Ordnance Stores to be supplied. 450 

Massias, Captain — News of Victory at New Orleans 458 

McDonald, Forage-Master — Loss of Public Stores at Ferry 434 

Mcintosh, Migor-Oeneral — Ordering Detachment to Mobile 440 

Mitchell, OoTcmor — Examination of the Frontier 412 

Monroe, Secretary of War — Announcing Peace with Great Britain 463 

NaTcy, Forage-Master — Supplies for the Army 484 

Newnan, Adjutant-General — Regiments for Gen. Jackson 422 

Patton, Major — Organixing Militia in Twiggs 433 

Pinckney, Major-General — Muster of Troops in U. S. Serrice 461 

Porter, Secretary of EzecntiTe Department — Ammunition for the Army 454 

Rabun, GoTemor — Court-Martial in Laurens 467 

Rutherford, Colonel— Regimental Reriews in 1799 405 

Thomas, Captain — Swords and Pistols for Caralry 433 

Tooko, Lt. Colonel — Indian Attack on Hartford. 420 

Wimberly, Lt. Colonel — Arming the Forts in Twiggs 412 

Winchester, Brigadier-General — Reinforcements for New Orleans 439 

PRIYAn LBTTBRS. 

Blaekshear, James H. — Student at Franklin College 468 

Blount, Richard A. — Oconee Nayigation 481 

Chandler, Daniel — Soliciting Influence in Legislature 483 

Crawford, Joel — Public Officers at Washington 467 

Crawford, Peter — Deprayed Party MoTcments 482 

Elliott, John — Presidential Campaign in 1824 472 

Floyd, John — Public Rejoicing at News of Peace 468 

Franklin, Bedney — Introducing Dr. Abner Franklin 426 

Hammond, Samuel — Militia Claims in Congress 411 

Hardin, Blark — Army Gossip, European Affairs, &c 424 

Harris, Charles — Candidate for City Court of SaTannah 480 

Jones, James — ^Western Territory in 1800 409 

Jones, Seaborn — Lawsuit of Ridley vt. Blaekshear. 470 

King, Henry — Relief before Legislature 480 

Molntosh, John lloustoun — British Outrages on the Coast 465 

Parke, Exekiel— Introducing Dr. WUIiam W. Strain 421 

Perry, James — Introducing Member of the Legislature 481 

Sawyer, John — British plundering Priyate Property 455 

Strong, Christopher B.— Troup Victory in 1825 480 

Tattnall, Edward F.— Introducing Col. Daniell 469 

Waddel, Moses (ReT.)— Affairs of Franklin College 475 

Wilde, Riohaxd H.— Cabinet Officers and Prospects in 1825 479 




PREFACE. 



This work in its present arrangement differs from the plan 
first intended. When the author made up his mind to pub- 
lish sketches of the Bench and Bar of Georgia, he persuaded 
himself that his inquiries would draw forth many things- 
enough to constitute a volume — which he would have only 
to place under suitable heads, with such remarks of his own 
as might be necessary to preserve the connection. It was 
designed more as a compilation of facts than a treatise on 
character. The idea was to separate the incidents into a 
class, with distinct chapters, leaving the matter which was 
purely biographical to appear under the names introduced. 
The author aimed to devolve the composition chiefly on 
others who were adequate, — to place them as laborers in the 
field, whilst he would follow and gather up the sheaves with 
humble acknowledgment. But those whom he invited to the 
harvest had many excuses. Some were silent ; others feigned 
inability to write ; some had no leisure from other engage- 
ments ; a portion had forgotten all the good things they ever 
knew, but were kind enough to refer to certain other gentle- 
men, who would gladly relieve their overburdened memories 
for the accommodation of the author. A few sat down at 
once and gave him a crumb to stop his importunity. And 
here the author takes occasion to thank his correspondents, 
to whom he is indebted for his best materials. References 
in the margin will guide the reader to the sources of his 
information. 

The author begs to say that his search has been liberally 
rewarded, as the work itself will show. Old family chests 




12 PREFACE. 

and drawers have been opened to him, with the privilege to 
examine and select papers. The aid from this quarter has 
been most gratifying. Many letters and documents, too valu- 
able to perish, have been thus given to the public. They will 
be found in their proper connection in the work. To claim 
for them the privacy in which many of the letters were written 
only adds to their interest. Of course, names have been with- 
held in certain passages where the freedom would give pain 
to the living. A picture drawn in confidence is more to be 
relied upon for its truth, its fidelity to nature, than the 
coloring of the artist who paints for the public eye. A leading 
feature in this work is the frankness and simplicity of its 
statements, both by contributors and the individual who 
writes himself the author. On no occasion, however, has 
any unkindness been intended, either to the dead or the 
living, in the course of these memoirs, — as there may be 
candor without malice. 

It may seem out of place for the author to qualify his 
sketches of individual character, after the labor he has be- 
stowed on them. Knowing that many persons who were 
personally acquainted with the gentlemen of whom he has 
written will be apt to accuse the author of exaggeration on 
the one hand and perhaps injustice on the other, as his 
remarks may happen in each case, he here takes occasion to 
disclose a secret in book-making by way of explanation. Most 
writers, in all periods of the world, in all countries, — from the 
huge metropolis to the veriest hamlet, — ^have been influenced 
by a common ambition to appear well on paper^ as that is the 
only arena on which they are to figure with any hope of suc- 
cess. To give their labors a sort of attraction, they are com- 
pelled to invest every thing they touch with more than ordinary 
importance,— to give warmth and force, so as to render signifi- 
cant that which seems devoid of interest because it is familiar 
in every-day life. The author, however, insists that he has 
not exceeded, if indeed he has fulfilled, the usual license in 
this respect. Of the thirty-two characters noticed biographi- 
oally in his work, he has seen twenty-three of them, heard 



PRBFAOE. 13 

them converse or make speeches, or in some other mode had 
an opportunity of judging each individual on his own merits. 
With several of them he was personally intimate, as the facts 
in the memoirs will show. At the time, no very striking idea 
or occurrence was presented worthy of historical note. But 
on review, after the grave has improved the vision and the 
heart of survivors, generosity supplants even a fault-finding 
disposition. 

The author has made these remarks, not that he prides 
himself on their boldness or originality^ but from a much better 
motive. While he charges this habit of writers without fear 
of successful contradiction in the mind of any experienced 
reader of history, he asserts, in behalf of the statesmen, jurists, 
and advocates whom he has chronicled, a perfect claim to the 
distinction and credit severally awarded to them. In the mean 
time, the author has too humble an opinion of himself to 
appear in any other light than as a mere pioneer in the soli- 
tudes of forensic biography in Georgia. He has pointed to 
the buried treasures, the correspondence, the briefs, the career 
of many who acted well their part and whose memoirs would 
be a gain to the public. In this connection the author may 
be permitted to express his gratification that he has accom- 
plished enough, under singular disadvantages, to stimulate 
others better qualified to rescue from decay the materials of 
which the legal profession furnishes an ample store to interest 
the whole community. 

In the variety of matter incorporated in these volumes the 
author has thought proper to admit several letters written in 
the confidence of friends}iip, some of them entirely too kind 
for publication by himself. While this may be so, he is even 
willing to bear the reproach for the sake of other days and 
other associations now pleasant to recall. A number of origi- 
nal letters will be found, however, wholly free from this objec- 
tion, addressed to other persons, all germain to the subject. 
And here let the fact be proclaimed that general history is 
made up of transactions not less sudden and casual than those 
of individuals which constitute their chapter in the world. 



14 PRBFAOE. 

This current of life, more or less feeble in the experience of 
every man, gathers up particles from a thousand rills, and, 
after cleansing the gold from the rubbish, leaves the deposit 
for distribution among his fellows, — ^the dividend often being 
so minute in value as to require a microscope to perceive it 

Not so with the characters in this work. Perhaps not one 
of them lived for history, — not one of them felt convinced that 
he deserved commemoration. Some of the gentlemen, it is 
true, ranked among the foremost in the Union for public ser- 
vices and personal merit: nevertheless they had to enjoy their 
honors with trembling, and to take only an equal chance in 
the struggles of humanity. They are the more entitled to 
respect than if they had with premeditation acted a part for 
the historian. It is a grateful labor to follow the career of 
a decided, earnest man,^-one who accomplished great and 
worthy deeds, or who failed only because his power was not 
equal to his ambition or his modesty. The author has endea- 
vored to do justice to all, and has not omitted to dwell on 
defects or to discriminate between opposite qualities in the 
same individual. He has written in a spirit of kindness at all 
times in the preparation of this work, and for this he takes 
no credit to himself, just as, if he had acted otherwise toward 
the defenceless, he would deserve the scorn of his fellow-men, 
as he would certainly incur his own. 

The political matter introduced, referring to several noted 
issues in Georgia, will no doubt prove acceptable, not only to 
the young men who have grown up since, but even to those 
who shared in the contests as they arose. The Old and New 
Treaties are noticed in sufficient det^l to give a just under- 
standing of the controversy. The case of the missionaries 
and other parties who sought to arraign Georgia before the 
Supreme Court of the United States is touched upon, with a 
statement of the facts and the legal questions. In regard to 
Nullification, and the proceedings in Georgia and South Caro- 
lina to carry the doctrine into effect, a very copious outline 
has been given. These topics form a legitimate portion of 
the memoirs. The Georgia platform of 1850, and the Resolu- 



PREFACE. 15 

tion8 of the Nashville Convention, are also included. In addi- 
tion to these, several measures in Congress have been brought 
into view. The recharter of the Bank of the United States, 
the removal of the public deposits, the tariff, uniform system 
of bankruptcy, annexation of Texas, &c. are interwoven in 
the biographical sketches. 

From the papers of the late Gen. Blackshear much inte- 
resting matter has been obtained, throwing light upon the 
negotiations for the western territory ceded by Georgia to the 
General Government in 1802, and also in relation to the "War 
of 1812-16. Many of the letters having been written by 
Governor Early, whose memoir appears, they were considered 
necessary to show his official conduct at a critical period. 
The other documents and correspondence, it is believed, will 
prove not less acceptable to the public. They all establish 
the value of old family papers; and their publication, it is 
hoped, will induce more carefulness generally in preserving 
such memorials of the past. Many rich treasures have been 
lost to history for the want of due reflection in this respect. 
Humble as they seem in garrets usually allotted to them, these 

• 

scraps of writing are the best interpreters of the times to 
which they relate, and more worthy of confidence than the 
interested and formal statements made for the public eye to 
serve a party or a cause. For this reason, the privilege granted 
the author by the family of Gen. Blackshear has led to a 
memoir which accompanies the papers in the appendix to the 
first volume, and which will be found of interest to the profes- 
sion for the legislative and judicial matter it contains. 

In submitting the result of his labors to the public, the 
author asUs permission to say a word or two calling for the 
sympathy of his professional brethren. Many original papers 
in the handwriting of deceased members of the bar have 
passed under his inspection for the purposes of biography. 
They have always impressed him with sadness and delicacy in 
the work he had undertaken, because, while they furnished 
evidence of character, they left him to throw around that cha- 
racter such drapery as might render it attractive or disagree- 



16 PREFACE. 

able. It has afforded him satisfaction to exhibit qualities for 
approval, without the least pleasure in alluding to defects 
when they existed. In performing his task he has only to 
regret that his abilities have been less than his patience in the 
composition of these memoirs. 

In the appendix to the second volume a court-roll has been 
given, containing the names of all the judges of the Superior 
Courts, and the Attorney and Solicitor Generals in Georgia 
from 1790 to 1857. Nothing of the kind has ever before been 
published. It is a record of honors bestowed, and cannot £Eiil 
to interest readers generally. Also in the same appendix will 
be found "fragments" from the pen of the author, most of 
which have appeared in print at various times. They are 
intended to show certain matters as they transpired. The 
pieces entitled "Labor Essential to Happiness," and "Letters 
to a Young Friend," are particularly intended to foster energy 
of character, and may, it is hoped, have a salutary effect 

In addition to what the author has already said about 
varying the plan of this work from that originally announced, 
he thinks proper to observe that the Roll of Practising Attor- 
neys in Georgia, which he designed to include, has been 
omitted for the reason that such information has since become 
&miliar to the public. 

All the materials furnished the author for the purpose have 
been worked up in the biographies which appear in the two 
volumes now submitted to the public Should the favor with 
which they are received authorize a third volume, the field is 
ample enough and abundantly fruitful to render a compliance 
with such a demand not less a duty than a pleasure. 

•S. F. M. 

Oglethorpb, Gbobgia, Janaaiy, 1858. 



THE 



BENCH MD BAR OF GEORGIA. 



I. 

GEORGE D. ANDERSON. 

There is no doubt, had he lived to the usual limit of man's 
sojourn upon earth, the Hon. George David Anderson would 
have occupied a high rank among the distinguished men of 
Georgia. 

His parents were John and Nancy Anderson, who resided in 
Anderson district. South Carolina, where their son (the third of 
eleven^ children) was born on the 28th day of May, 1806. His 
opportunities for an education were quite limited ; yet, by great 
diligence in the pursuit of knowledge as chance permitted, he 
became well informed and capable of mastering the intricacies of 
the law. 

Removing in early life with his parents to De Ealb county, 
Georgia, he continued to exercise his habits of manual labor for 
a number of years. He then turned his attention to legal studies, 
and read in the office of David Kiddoo and James M. Calhoun, Esqs., 
then partners in the practice of law at Decatur, until he was 
admitted to the bar in 1833. In the next four or five years he 
was connected with Mr. Calhoun in the usual labors and profits of 
the profession until his removal to Marietta, about the year 1838. 

At different periods Mr. Anderson served the public in the 
following situations : — 

1. Receiver of tax-returns and collector of taxes. 

2. Captain of a militia-company. 
8. Colonel of a regiment of militia. 

4. Brigade-inspector. 

5. Commissioner appointed by President Van Buren, in 1836, 
to investigate alleged frauds on the Indians, with respect to their 
lands in Alabama. 

Vol. L— 2 17 



18 BENCn AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

6. Representative five years from De Kalb county in the Legis- 
lature of Georgia. 

7. Senator from the county of Cobb. 

8. Solicitor- General of the Coweta circuit. 

9. Judge of the Superior Court. 

This is indeed a flattering record, such as can rarely be exhibited 

in favor of a man who died at the age of thirty-seven years. A 

gentleman* to whom the author applied politely furnished a copy 

of the remarks of the press and the proceedings of the bar on the 

occasion of the death of Judge Anderson, which are adopted as a 

part of this memoir. The same gentleman adds : — 

Judge Anderson was a man of a lively disposition, and possessed a 
warm and feeling heart. He was quite distinguished for his kindness and 
attention to the sick and unfortunate. In point of honesty and fidelity 
not a blemish was on his character. You may form some idea of the 
estimation the people had of him, who knew him, from the great respect 
shown at his death. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. 

The Federal Union thus referred to Judge Anderson's death : — 

Georgia has lost few sons whose untimely end would have produced 
more regret than him for whom we perform the painful duty of ofiering 
thb passing notice. We extract the remarks of the Rome Sentinel, and 
the proceedings of the bar at Spring Place, where his death occurred. 
But the case is so full of interest that we add the following, taken princi- 
pally from a letter from one of his friends : — 

'< On the morning of his decease, Judge Anderson arose as usual and 
opened his door that a servant might light a fire. He was for half an 
hour left alone, but at that time he was found expiring on the floor. His 
attentive friend, who describes the scene, was present : ^ His pulse had 
ceased to beat and he wa§ perfectly insensible. It was an awful and 
sudden visitation of Providence, cutting him ofi* in the midst of his use- 
fulness and at the post of duty. His ways are ofttimes dark and myste- 
rious, but always right. Judge Anderson seemed to have died without 
the slightest struggle. His features were as placid and composed as if ho 
had gently fallen asleep.' From Spring Place the body was transported to 
Marietta, to receive the last duties of his bereaved wife and little ones, 
and his numerous friends. *I never have,' said his friend, *seeu a 
more deeply solemn scene. The Court, the Bar, the Grand Jury, and the 
largest procession of citizens I ever witnessed on such an occasion, attended 
his funeral services.' This well-merited tribute of respect was rendered 
practicable by the accidental sitting of the Cobb Court at that time. 

*<Thus has fallen one of our purest, most acceptable, and upright 
citizens. His rise to office was not through detraction and malice, but 
his claims rested on his merit alone. Few have arrived at such honors 
with as few blemishes." 

A communication written by a gentlemanf well known in 
Georgia appeared in the Home Sentinel as follows : — 

* James M. Calhoun, Esq., a State Senator. 

j- Hon. John H. Lumpkin, a Represcntatiye in Congress. 



GEORGE D. ANDERSON. 19 

It becomes our melancholj duty as a public journalist to record the 
death of the Hon. George D. Anderson, Judge of the Superior Courts 
of the Cherokee circuit. Below will be found the proceedings of a meet- 
ing held by the bar of this circuit at Spring Place, in Murray county, on 
the day of nis death. The public generally throughout this whole country 
will participate in the sentiments of regret expressed by the bar at this 
mysterious visitation of Providence. 

Judge Anderson was a native of Anderson district, South Carolina. 
He removed to this State at an early age, where he commenced life under 
many disadvantages. Without wealth, without influential family connec- 
tions to aid and assist in bringing him forward into life, he commenced 
earning his support by laboring as a mechanic in manufacturing cotton- 
gins. But, his native intellect being active and strong, he could not long 
be confined to mechanical employments. He thirsted for knowledge and 
that enviable distinction which it only can give, aided and assisted by a 
manly, virtuous life. Without any education, and while compelled to 
attend to the duties and labors of a mechanical trade, he commenced the 
study of law. Wo think we see him now, as then, after being worn out 
by toil and labor during the day, at night seizing his candle and book, 
where the flickering light might be seen through his window, the solo 
sentinel at that dread hour of all that was once life and animation. By his 
application and industry, continued under such disadvantages, he became 
qualified from his knowledge to commence the practice of that profession. 
He established himself in the practice at Decatur, De Kalb county, 
Georgia, and not only sustained himself as a lawyer, but received from 
the community in which he lived repeated testimonials of their confi- 
dence and esteem by being selected as their representative in the State 
Legislature. 

In the councils of his adopted State he was always the eloquent, the 
fearless, and independent advocate of her rights, her honor, and the best 
interests of his own constituents. But his march to distinction was 
onward and upward. He was next elected by the Legislature the 
Solicitor-General of the Coweta circuit; and all who have witnessed his 
able, manly, and eloquent appeals in behalf of the State of Georgia and 
her violated laws, in criminal prosecutions, have awarded him the praise 
of an able, honest, and faithful public officer. After the expiration of 
his office as solicitor-general, shortly after the Cherokee counties were 
organized by the Legislature and settled by its present enterprising popu- 
lation, the subject of this brief notice made a permanent location in the 
county of Cobb ; and here he was honored with the confidence of tho 
people, and loved for his social, intellectual, and moral worth. Without 
eflFort, intrigue, or management, he was to the day of his death an almost 
universal favorite, and, in the year 1841, was chosen by his constituency- 
in Cobb to represent them in the senatorial branch of the Legislature. 
He was next elected, at the last session of the Legislature of this State, 
Judge of the Superior Court of the Cherokee district, and was ably, 
honestly, and faithfully discharging its responsible duties at the time of 
his death, with entire satisfaction to the whole country. 

Judge Anderson was just entering his thirty-seventh year at the time 
of his death; and he had, without wealth, without influential family 
friends, and without the advantages of an early education, established for 
himself a fame and a reputation that any among us might be proud of. 
Indeed, it is an example that may be adduced through all time to the 



20 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

joath of the couDtT}' as well worthy their imitatioD. It aLso strikioglj 
illuittnites the character of our free and happy system of govcmmeDt. 

The proceedings of the bar were as follows : — 

At a meetiDg of the members of the bar of the Cherokee circuit, con- 
vened in the court-house at Spring Place on Tuesday morning, the 
28th of 3Iarch, 1843^ Judge John W. Hooper was called to the chair, 
and Thomas C. Hackett, Esq., requested to act as secretary. 

The chairman announced in a brief and feeling manner the sudden and 
unexpected death of the Hon. George D. Anderson, Judge of the 
.Superior Courts of the Cherokee circuit, who, by a sudden dispensation 
of I'rovidence, departed this life at an early hour this morning, at his 
lodgings in this place. 

Judge Turner H. Trippe, after a few brief remarks, oflfered the follow- 
ing preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by the 
meeting : — 

It has pleased an all-wise and overruling Providence to remove from 
among us the Judge of the Superior Courts of the Cherokee circuit of 
this State. The Hon. George D. Anderson is no more ! Without warn- 
ing, the fell Destroyer came and cut him down in the midst of his useful- 
ness and at the post of duty. 

To those who knew him as we have known him, eulogy of his character 
is unnecessary and vain. Mild and courteous as a gentleman, able and 
talented as a lawyer, upright, fearless, and independent as a judge, he 
bade fair to become — indeed, he had become — an ornament to the profes- 
sion, a credit to the bench, and one of Georgia's best and brightest sons. 
Society, and especially his circuit, has sustained a heavy loss by his 
untimely death. To his family the deplorable loss is irretrievable. In 
all the relations of husband, father, and fnend, he was as faultless as mor- 
tality could be. Entertaining these opinions of the worth of the departed 
Judge Anderson, we, the members of the bar of the Cherokee circuit, as 
a tribute of respect to his memory and in admiration of his character, 
givo the public expression of our feelings on this mournful occasion. 
Therefore, 

Bcsolvedf That wo deeply deplore the loss we have sustained by the 
sudden and untimely death of Judge Anderson. 

Ruolvedj That we sincerely sjrmpathize with his afflicted family in their 
bereavement. 

Resolved, That as a slight tribute to his memory, and indeed a small 
token of the grief we feel on this melancholy occasion, we will wear crape 
on our left arm for thirty days. 

Reiolvedf That a committee be appointed to oJOTer to his wife and family 
our sincere condolence in their deep affliction, and a copy of the proceed- 
ings of this meeting. 

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be published in the public 
gazette of this circuit and the principal newspapers in the State. 

Milton H. Gathright moved that at the next term of the Superior 
Court of this county, a motion be made that the proceedings of this meet- 
ing bo entered on the minutes of the court. 

The chair appointed Turner H. Trippe, James A. Hanks, Richard M. 
Avoock, Andrew J. Hansell, and Milton H. Gathright, Esqs., the com- 
mittee contemplated by the resolution. 

The meeting then, on motion of Warren Akin, Esq., adjourned. 



IL 
ROBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 

The genius of Robert Augustus Beall has been admitted by * 
all who ever heard him speak. He has been aptly called the 
Prentiss of Georgia. His career at the bar was distinguished by 
a glowing eloquence which defied all competition. A native grace 
of manner captivated every eye; his pure diction delighted the 
scholar; and the melody of his voice charmed every listener. We 
shall give such particulars of his history as we have been able to 
gather. 

He was born in Prince George county, State of Maryland, on 
the 16th day of November, in the year 1800. His father removed 
to Georgia in 1808 with his family; and the subject of this 
memoir, after the usual elementary training in neighborhood 
schools, was sent to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he completed 
his education. He subsequently studied law in Augusta under the 
direction of Judges Montgomery and Reid, was admitted to the bar 
soon after he was twenty-one years of age, and located in Marion, 
Twiggs county, where he formed a professional partnership with 
Col. T. G. Holt. On the promotion of the latter gentleman to 
the Judgeship of the Superior Court by Gov. Troup, in December, 
1824, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Hon. 
Thomas W. Harris, Maj. Beall succeeded Col. Holt as Solicitor- 
General of the Southern circuit by executive appointment. 

About this time, owing to some remarks at the dinner-table of a 
friend, (the late Martin Hardin, Esq., of Decatur county,) a quar- 
rel ensued between Thomas D. Mitchell, Esq., and Maj. Beall, 
which led to the field of honor on the Carolina side, near Augusta, 
in March, 1825. Two shots were exchanged by the parties, when, 
on the mediation of Maj. Pace, who was recognised as authority in 
such afiairs, the combatants retired from the field without further 
hostilities. Capt. Joseph Morgan was the ofiiciating friend, and 
Dr. Ambrose Baber the surgeon, of Maj. Beall. The author, then 
quite a youth, well remembers the warm rejoicing of Maj. Beall's 
friends on his return in safety from the duel. While many regretted 
that he had taken a step of such doubtful propriety, all regarded 

21 



^ 



22 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

him with increased admiration. He was put forth as a candidate 
for the Douse of Representatives by the Troup party, but was 
defeated by a small majority at the regular election. On ascer- 
taining that the Clark party had full dominion in the Legislature, 
Col. Moses Fort resigned his seat in the House in order to compete 
for the bench. Maj. Beall was a candidate to fill the vacancy, 
and was elected over Robert Glenn, Esq., the ablest member of 
the Clark party in Twiggs county. 

Thus we find Maj. Beall, at the age of twenty-five years, a 
prominent member of the Legislature of Georgia, commanding the 
attention of the House by strains of eloquence which drew crowded 
galleries. His modesty and self-respect prevented him from 
appearing often upon the floor. When a question worthy of his 
talents arose, and he believed that he could shed light upon it, he 
exerted himself with that preparation and energy which always 
secured triumph, if not in the votes of the House, at least in his 
own rapidly-advancing character. He was courteous in debate, 
and extremely affable in his bearing at all times. 

His course during the session proved so acceptable to his con- 
stituents that he was re-elected the next fall by a large majority. 
His devoted friend, Major-General Ezekiel Wimberly, to whose 
staff* he belonged, was returned to the Senate at the same election, 
over Gen. L. L. GriflSn, who, in the heated party-canvass between 
Troup and Clark, had caused their defeat the previous year. 
Maj. Beall again sustained himself with increasing reputation in 
the House of Representatives. 

At the session of 1827, Maj. Beall appeared at the bar of the 
House of Representatives as counsel for Judge Fort, on charges 
preferred by Col. Joseph Blackshear, of Laurens county, for irre- 
gularities in office, and especially for decisions which he had made 
in the case of A. B. Ridley and wife against the executor of Elijah 
Blackshear, deceased. After hearing testimony, the select com- 
mittee reported an address to the governor, which, after passing 
the House of Representatives, failed for the want of a two-thirds 
vote in the Senate. 

Pleased with the opening before him in political life, Maj. Beall 
gave more attention to the voters of his county than he did to the 
practice of the law. On questions purely legal, his briefs, though 
more than respectable, did not do justice to his abilities. Labor 
was u'ksome as a habit, and he trusted too much to off*-hand inspi- 
ration to cope with such veterans as Shorter, Torrance, Lamar, 
8. Rockwell, Prince, Strong, and others of the like class, who often 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 23 

measured strength with him. Before the jury Maj. Beall was in 
his proper element. He was well acquainted with the human heart, 
and could touch every passion with the skill of a master. He was 
self-possessed and dignified in manner, with a vein of satire that 
scorched, and the faculty of condensation which gave order and 
force to his arguments. As his mind glowed with the intensity of 
its own action, some of the most brilliant gems dropped from his 
lips. His temperament was poetic. The dark, flashing eye, the 
clear, cultivated voice, rolling its rich cadences upon the ear, the 
excited passion and daring flight, constituted Maj. Beall, at times, 
one of the happiest forensic orators. His moods were not always 
equal. Genius is ever erratic, — sometimes in gloomy abstraction 
and then elated with its own divinity. The fortunate medium is 
difficult to attain. The two extremes were signally illustrated in 
the character of Maj. Beall. His mental and social organization 
required constant aliment. Hence he was fond of society where he 
could draw out congenial sentiments and impart his own lofty 
nature in the contact. The result was that he formed irregular 
habits from which he suffered both in fortune and in health. He 
became addicted to games of hazard, just as Sheridan and Fox 
applied themselves to keep their ardent sensibilities from languish- 
ing in the intervals between labor and repose. 

To show the kindness of heart which Maj. Beall possessed, the 
author makes free to introduce a letter from him, called forth by 
an application for advice in a course of legal studies : — 

Mabion, Sept. 21, 1826. 

My dear Sir: — I neglected to call at the post-office until yesterday, 
cODsequently did not receive your acceptable favor of the 18th inst. before 
that time, to which circumstance I beg you to attribute my delay in 
answering it. 

I am gratified to understand that you intend to devote your leisure 
hours, assiduously, to the study of law, — not more for the benefit it will be 
to yourself than the credit, I readily hope and believe, you may bo to the 
profession. I heartily wish you prosperity and cheerfully tender you my 
assistance to facilitate your progress in the undertaking;. 

The acquisition of a " practical knowledp:e of jurisprudence" in this 
State is not a very laborious undertaking. It may be acquired by assidu- 
ous application iu twelve months, and some have qualified themselves for 
the practice in a shorter period. 

The course of study to be pursued previous to admission, however, is 
now laid down by our uniform Rules of Court. Accordingly, all appli- 
cants for admission are examined on the principles of the Common and 
Statute Laws of England in force in this State ; the general principles of 
Equity J the Constitution of the United States and the State of Georgia; 
the Statute Laws of this State and the Rules of Court. 

To acquire a competent knowledge of the Common Law of England, I 



24 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

rocommend yoa to read the Commentaries of Justice Blackstone. There 
is DOW a work in press^ compiled in conformity with a resolution of our 
Lep:i8lature, embracing all the statutes of England in force in this State. 

To qualify yourself for an examination on the principles of Equity, the 
author most used is ^'Maddock's Chancery." Fearful, however, it may 
not be found in any library here, I would next prefer '< Harrison" on the 
same title. 

You will make use of " Prince's Digest" in acquiring a knowledge of 
the statutes of our own State. 

This course of study, however, will only qualify you for admission to 
the bar, without giving you the title of a profound lawyer. As I have 
told you how you may get the name of a lawyer, I now refer you to the 
little volume* I loaned you a few days since, which teaches you how you 
may become one in truth, and a great one. Cordially reciprocating your 
sentiments of esteem and friendship, I am, &c., 

RoBT. Augustus Beall. 

Mr. Stephen F. Miller. 

N.B. — Do not hesitate to call for any book in our office, and believe 
every thing I have at your service. Beall. 

The author asks the privilege of recording his own grateful 
recollections of this timely response to his timid request. With 
more presumption than judgment, the author, dropping his humbler 
though safer employments, cast an anxious look at the bar and 
solaced himself with hopes which his poor abilities never per- 
mitted him to realize. Still, the retrospect has a mournful plea- 
sure, even to this very letter. Then, Maj. Beall was a rising star 
of the first magnitude, popular with the masses and peculiarly fas- 
cinating in conversation, winning all hearts and extorting universal 
praise. It was gratifying to the author, then in his twenty-first 
year, to receive the friendly notice of such a man. Now, after the 
lapse of thirty years since the letter was written, it is the lot of the 
humble youth to whom it was addressed to rescue the memory of 
his warm-hearted friend from the mold of time and to pass it to a 
new generation. 

Previous to his marriage, Maj. Beall was much from home on 
visits to his parents in Warren county and in attending courts at a 
<listance to which he was called, especially for the defence of per- 
sons accused of high criminal ofiences. This was his forte. His 
pictures of distress, his withering anathemas of oppression, his per- 
suasive manner and melting eloquence, seldom left the jury at a 
loss. Their sympathies and reason generally united in acquitting 
his client. 

Besides the courts of his own county, he attended some half- 



* Rathby'8 Letters to a Law Stadent, dedicated to Lord Loughborough. 



BOBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 25 

dozen, not, however, with that punctuality and relish for business 
80 essential to the building up of a successful practice. In fact, he 
could never submit long at a time to the drudgery of his profes- 
sion. His clients often called at his office without an interview, 
and when they even had the good fortune to see him he would put 
them off until the last hour and then wholly neglect their business 
or despatch it hastily, perhaps imperfectly. In this way his papers 
became confused. He had no regular place for any thing, — kept 
no private dockets showing the condition of his business. Interro- 
gatories, notice to produce papers, the ordering of witnesses, and 
all that sort of preparation necessary in a cause, was too frequently 
omitted. In term, when the call of the docket roused his atten- 
tion, he usually had some excuse to offer, which was urged with so 
much innocence and plausibility that the court indulged him from 
day to day and often granted him continuances. But, when forced 
to trial, whether all his testimony was at hand or not, the spirit of 
the case took full possession of him. From his zeal and readiness 
a casual observer would be apt to conclude that the dexterous 
advocate had applied himself with signal industry to office investi- 
gation. 

At this point of his career, Maj. Beall offered an equal partner- 
ship to the author, which he gladly accepted. This was in No- 
vember, 1828. Maj. Beall was then recently married, and had 
just returned from Milledgeville, where he had been defeated for 
the office of brigadier-general in an election to fill the vacancy 
caused by the resignation of Gen. Thaddeus G. Holt, who at that 
session had been restored to the bench from which he had been 
swept by the political tornado of 1825, so fatal to Troup office- 
holders, by legislative action. His successful competitor was Gen. 
Eli Warren, then a Representative from Laurens county, but now a 
citizen of Houston. He was of opinion that injustice had been 
done to his claims by the Legislature ; for he had a military taste, 
was well versed in the discipline, and made an admirable figure on 
horseback at reviews. Indeed, he was as graceful in the saddle as 
he was elegant in the drawing-room. A clumsy motion or an 
undignified attitude was never perceived by the author during his 
ten years' close intimacy with Maj. Beall. He was a splendid 
reader. Passages from Shakspeare and other dramatic authors 
were given with all the conception and spirit of the finest trage- 
dians. He was a great admirer of Cooper ; and imitating no one^ 
but following his own genius, he was the equal of Forrest and 
Macready in strong delineation of character, combining the 




26 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

inspired energy of Kean, without the stage auxiliaries of either of 
them. 

Well does the author recollect Maj. Beall's reading to a group 
of friends the celebrated debate between Hayne and Webster, on 
Footers resolution in the Senate of the United States, as it came 
fresh from the reporters in 1830. He belonged to the Carolina 
school of politics ; and as the champion Haync flashed his trusty 
sword under the State-Rights banner, Maj. B. dwelt with special 
unction on passages which amounted, as he thought, to demonstra- 
tion of the doctrine. Then came the majestic roll of Webster's 
drum. After days of dark weather at sea, a glimpse of the sun 
was taken and the latitude of the question ascertained. Webster 
uttered thoughts which electrified the world. Ancient or modern 
times never furnished the parallel of his speech on that occasion. 
His dying gaze on the flag of the Union was indeed sublime. The 
voice, the eye, the excited feelings of Maj. Beall, as he progressed 
in the reading, and the delight of the listeners, are fresh in the 
author's memory. The gifted statesmen whose words he repeated 
in a style of surpassing beauty are now in the grave, and so is the 
brilliant reader. Let no person start at the association of names, 
Beall, IIayne, W^ebster; for in this order they left the world, 
at the ages of thirty-six, forty-eight, and seventy years, re- 
spectively. 

In depth of sensibility and exalted passion, constituting the soul 
of genius, Robert Augustus Beall never, perhaps, had a superior, 
except in Lord Byron. This opinion may, by some, be termed 
extravagant ; still, the author is candid in its avowal. He had full 
opportunities of analyzing his character in all the phases of fortune 
and temperament. A high order of genius, other qualities not 
being equal, is apt to render the possessor unhappy. Sheridan and 
Byron are noted examples : both singularly imprudent in the com- 
mon affairs of life, and both died under a cloud, — one in adversity 
and the other in self-imposed exile, to escape from the horrors of 
his own mind. To this class of mortals, more to be pitied than 
condemned, we assign the subject of this memoir. If we exceed 
justice to the dead, the error at least has no sting. 

But to resume our narrative. — In 1830, Gov. Gilmer appointed 
Maj. Beall one of his aides-de-camp, with the rank of lieutenant- 
colonel. He continued to appear with Maj. Gen. W^imberly at regi- 
mental reviews in the division, but in his new capacity as represen- 
tative of the commander-in-chief. In January, 1832, Col. Beall 
removed with his family to the city of Macon, and opened a law- 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 27 

office in connection with Col. Seymour, now of New Orleans. To 
discuss more prominently the political questions of the day, in 
which he felt a warm interest. Col. Beall purchased a share in the 
Georgia Messenger, — Mr. S. Rose then, as now, and for the last 
thirty years, still retaining his position as publisher. Acting as 
principal editor, he espoused nullification with earnestness and 
ability, sounding the alarm and pointing to the authorized redress 
of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798, — that inexhaust- 
ible fountain of vague construction which has perplexed so many 
honest inquirers after political truth. In the mean time the mili- 
tary aspirations of Col. Beall were gratified by the Legislature 
in electing him a brigadier-general. The extent of his practice at 
the bar was perhaps equal to his desire ; for he delighted mainly 
in politics, and his ample fortune exempted him from the necessity 
of labor. 

A vacancy in Congress having to be filled, the State-Rights 
party nominated Gen. Beall, and the Union party brought forward 
Gen. Glascock as his competitor. The vote was then by general 
ticket and the canvass was warmly conducted, the Union candi- 
date prevailing by a small majority. Gen. Beall received frequent 
proofs of confidence from the people of Bibb county. Of the 
Anti-Tariff Convention in 1832, and the great State-Rights meet- 
ing, in 1833, at Milledgeville, (the night of the meteoric shower, 
13th November,) he was an influential member and acted on the 
most important committees. As this was a noted meeting at the 
time, composed of many of the ablest men in Georgia, the author 
thinks proper to give some of the particulars. The Hon. Chris- 
topher B. Strong was appointed chairman, and the Hon. N. C. 
Sayre and A. B. Lonostreet acted as secretaries. 

On motion of Judge Clayton, it was 

Resolved J That a committee of thirteen be appointed by the chairman 
to propose resolutions expressing the sentiments of the State-Rights party 
in this State, and report to this meeting at its sitting. 

The committee consisted of the following gentlemen, in the order 
named by the chair : — Hon. A. S. Clayton, Hon. William H. Craw- 
ford, Dr. William C. Daniell, Col. Seaborn Jones, Hon. Richard 
W. Habersham, D. P. Hilhouse, Esq., Col. Samuel Rockwell, 
A. H. Chappell, E«q., Geo. H. Young, Esq., Gen. Robt. A. Beall, 
Col. Newton, Gen. Eli Warren, and Hon. Charles Dougherty. 

As a source of information to the younger politicians of the 
State, as well as to preserve the original Platform itself, the 
author copies from the official proceedings of the meeting : — 



28 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

The committee retired; and, Laving returned, reported through their 
chairman the following preamble and resolutions : — 

The relations between the Federal and State Governments have assumed 
a peculiar and intense interest by reason of the events which terminated 
the deliberations of the last Congress. The long and angry contests 
which agitated the whole South, and had produced just complaints against 
the General Government, were brought to a close with its last session ; 
but they were succeeded (and doubtless for the special purpose of subserv- 
ing at some future period the very principles they were compelled to 
abandon) by the enactment of a law equally objectionable and certainly 
more dangerous to the liberties of the people than their former oppressions, 
and which, if permitted to endure, will ultimately perpetuate the usurpa- 
tions which it was professed to be renounced. It is not difficult to per- 
ceive that allusion is here made to the Proclamation of the President of 
the United States, and the Force Bill, which was its legitimate conse- 
quence. The first document instantly revived the doctrines of the Fede- 
ralists of '98, which had been put down by Mr. Jefferson, at the head of 
the Republicans ; and now, parties are forming everywhere, and particu- 
larly in our own State, for the avowed purpose of supporting the principles 
of the Proclamation and Force Bill, thereby insidiously restoring to the 
Federal party the power which they lost under the elder Adams. To this 
end they have changed their name to one which is designed to play upon 
popular feeling ; and, by the force of prejudice alone, they are aiming to 
re-establish principles which the good sense of the people absolutely 
rejected in 1801, as tending to the destruction of the Union and rearing 
upon its ruins a consolidated government. These facts have justly alarmed 
the friends of liberty in every quarter : and those Kepublicans who still 
adhere to the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, the great moral instru- 
ments by which 5lr. Jefferson effected the overthrow of the Federalists, 
are rallying to the defence of the Constitution of the United States from 
North to South by counter-associations, designed to reorganize the old 
Republican party and to check immediately the growth of the doctrines 
of the Proclamation, which must inevitably lead to consolidation if not 
successfully resisted. The object of the present meeting is, First, to con- 
stitute and form one of those associations for the express purpose of coun- 
teracting the designs of the Federal party lately reorganized in this State, 
who, under false colors, are inculcating the doctrine of John Adams in 
'98, and those of Daniel Webster at the present time ; and. Secondly, for 
the further object of enforcing a systematic opposition to the Proclamation 
and Force Bill. These last measures have aimed a deadly blow at State 
Rights, and seem now to require the united and concentrated energies of 
the friends and advocates of those rights to be directed to this point of 
attack, deemed so important by our enemies to be carried, and in which, 
if success should crown their exertions, all that is dear and valuable to 
freedom will be wrested from the States. 

That it may be distinctly understood what are the principles of this 
association, it will be necessary to show what are the doctnnes of the 
Proclamation, and these are asserted in language which admits of no 
dispute. 

1. It maintains that the States of which this Confederacy is composed 
never had a separate existence ; for from the moment they ceased to be 
dependent on Great Britain^ they formed one nation, and have so con- 
tinaed. 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 29 

2. That a State in the exercise of its legitimate powers has not the 
right to decide upon the constitutionality of an act of Congress, and to 
protect its citizens from the operation of an unconstitutional act, and to 
maintain within her limits the authority, rights^ and liberties appertaining 
to a sovereign State. 

3. That the States have no right to secede from the Union under any 
circumstances whatever^ inasmuch as secession would destroy the unity 
OP the nation. 

4. That the people of the twenty-four States constitute one people. 

5. That the members of Congress ''are all representatives of the United 
States, not representatives o/ the particular States from which they come, 
and that they are not accountable to it for any act done in the perform- 
ance of (heir legislative functions." 

6. That "the States have not retained their entire sovereignty." 

7. That the allegiance of our citizens is due to the United States '' in 
the first instance,* and not to their respective States. 

These are the doctrines of the Proclamation, and they have, at the 
special instance of the President, produced the Force Bill for their com- 
plete execution. This meeting doth solemnly protest against them, and 
as solemnly deny their legitimate deduction from the compact which 
established the Federal Government, and that the association now formed 
will resist them in every proper manner. To this end they 

Resolvedy That the present meeting be organized into an association to 
be denominated " The State-Rights Party op Georgia," and recom- 
mend meetings in all the counties for the purpose of constituting similar 
associations, to be connected with that which will be formed at Milledge- 
ville, as the central association. 

Resolved, That the doctrines of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, 
as construed and understood by Mr. Jefferson, and triumphantly acted 
upon in 1825, 6, and 7, in this State, constitute the creed of the State- 
Rights party of Georgia ; and that, as all such unconstitutional laws are 
null and void, we will, whenever the proper exigency arises, resist them 
in any manner the sovereign power of the State may order and direct. 

Resolved, That we consider the Force Bill as a glaring infraction of 
Stat« rights and a gross outrage upon the liberties of the people, and that 
its continuance upon the statute-book is such an act of usurpation as 
ought not to be submitted to by free and independent States, and that we 
will use our exertions to counteract the principles of the Proclamation and 
to obtain a repeal of said bill. 

Resolved, That our Senators and Representatives in Congress be, and 
they are hereby^ earnestly requested to demand an immediate repeal of 
the act of the last Congress, denominated the Force Bill, as being a pal- 
pable violation of the rights of the States, and the Federal Constitution. 

Which having been read, a motion was made to postpone further 
action that they might be printed and taken up at a subsequent meeting ; 
which motion was, by a vote of the meeting, negatived ; and^ on motion 
of Judge Clayton, it was 

Resolved, That the. report be taken up and read by paragraphs. 

The report having been read, on motion of Judge Clayton, it was 
unanimously resolved that said preamble and resolutions be adopted and 
agreed to. 

On motion of Judge Dougherty, 

Resolved, That the editors of the States-Right papers in this State be 



30 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

rcqnestocl to publish the foregoing; preamble and resolutions, accompanied 
by the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, and that a copy of the same be 
transmitted to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress. 

On motion of Mr. Torrance, 

llrwfvnly That the chairman of this meeting appoint a committee of 
thirteen, to be styled The Central Committee of the State-Rights Associa- 
tion of Georgia, to correspond with such associations in support of State 
Rights as have been, or may be, organized in the several counties of 
Georgia. 

The chairman appointed the following gentlemen : — Wm. H. Torrance, 
David R. Mitchell, Joel Crawford, John H. Howard, Randall Jones, 
Samuel Roykin, L. Q. C. Lamar, Seaton Grantland, Irby Hudson, Samuel 
Rockwell, N. C. Say re, Dr. Wm. Greene, and John Williams, Esqs. 

On motion of Judge Clayton, 

lle.^olvcdy That as a means of extending among the people an accurate 
knowledge of our principles, this meeting will patronize the paper called 
Tht' Ej-amimr, published by Condy Raguet, in the city of Philadelphia, 
and recommend to all the associations that may be formed in the several 
counties to do the same, and that those who may be disposed to subscribe 
for suid paper apply to either of the secretaries of this meeting now or at 
a future period for that purpose. 

With the revolution of parties in Georgia since 1833 the author 
has nothing to do and expresses no opinion. He has introduced 
this fragment as a part of the history of the times and for no other 
object. 

By proclamation of Gov. Gilmer, the Legislature convened on 
the 18th day of October, 1830, to dispose of the Cherokee lands. 
Gen. Bcall was a representative from the county of Twiggs, with 
Robert Hodges and Larkin Griffin his colleagues. The business 
of the session was urgent and complicated. Many questions arose 
and were discussed with marked ability. To glance at them in 
detail, and at the speakers who participated, would require more 
space than could be properly allowed in this work. Among the 
gentlemen prominent on the floor of the House were John H. 
Howard, C. J. McDonald, A. Hull, C. Dougherty, Thos. Haynes, 
Thos. W. Murray, Wiley Williams, Geo. H. Young, Irby Hudson, 
Wm. Turner, Wm. Schley, C. J. Jenkins, E. J. Black, Geo. W.Towns, 
and Dennis L. Ryan, — presenting an array of talent which would 
do credit to any legislative body. 

Party strife rose high. The old distinctions of Troup and Clark 
were gradually wearing down in the grave issue as to the power of 
the Federal Gk)vernment. The Senate adopted a set of resolutions 
on this subject, and also laudatory of President Jackson, which 
irere sent to the House for concurrence. Gen. Beall oflFered a 
■nbstitute in the following words, after reciting the Protest of the 
Legislature in 1828 against the Tariff: — 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BE ALL. 81 

Be it there/ore resolved, <3&r., That the State of Georgia, influenced by 
a sense of forbearance and respect for the opinions of the other States, 
and bj community of attachment to the Unions so far as the same may 
be consistent with self-preservation and a determined purpose to preserve 
the purity of our republican institutions, having, in her sovereign charac- 
ter, protested against the Tariff, and, by inference, against its dependent 
measure, "internal improvement," as being an infraction of the sacred 
bond of our Union, demanded its repeal, and in perpetual testimony 
thereof deposited that protest and demand in the archives of the Senate 
of the United States, cannot now, adhering firmly and unalterably as she 
does to the declaration contained in that instrument, descend, without 
compromitting her honor and dignity as a sovereign and independent 
State, to the measures of memorial and remonstrance, which having been 
patiently resorted to for years were utterly disregarded ; — thus compelling 
her, in justification of her character to the present generation and to pos- 
terity, reluctantly to adopt the measure hereinbefore recited. 

Resolved nevertheless, by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia , 
acting for and in behalf of the people thereof That this State looks with 
the deepest solicitude to the re-election of General Jackson to the Presi- 
dency of the United States, because, in that event, we will have the certain 
guarantee that he will fearlessly go, as far as his official powers will war- 
rant, "in arresting the profligate expenditure of the public money, extin- 
guishing the public debt as speedily as possible, and restraining tho 
government to its primitive simplicity in the exercise of all its functions." 

The House Journal (p. 361) thus continues : — 

Mr. Burnes moved the following resolution in lieu of the preamble and 
resolutions from Senate, and the foregoing preamble and resolutions offered 
by Mr. Beall, of Twiggs : — 

Resolved, by the people of Georgia, through their Representatives, That 
they highly approbate the opinions of President Jackson in behalf of the 
Union and rights of the States, and his administration generally, and that 
we earnestly recommend his re-election. 

On the motion to receive said resolution as a substitute in lieu of the 
preamble and resolutions from the Senate, and the foregoing preamble 
and resolutions offered by Mr. Beall, of Twiggs, the yeas and nays were 
required to be recorded, and were, — Yeas, 57 ; Nays, 65. 

So the House refused to receive Mr. Burnes's resolution as a substitute. 

The question was then put on receiving the preamble and resolutions 
offered by Mr. Beall, of Twiggs, as a substitute for the preamble and 
resolutions from the Senate. On which motion the yeas and nays were 
required to be recorded, and are, — Yeas, 76 ; Nays, 45. So the House 
agreed to receive the preamble and resolutions offered by Mr. Beall, of 
Twiggs, as a substitute for the preamble and resolutions of Senate, and 
the said substitute agreed to by the House. 

Without aiming to revive party creeds or associations to affect 
any gentleman, the author merely remarks that Messrs. Black, 
J. S. Calhoun, Dougherty, Haynes, P. S. Holt, Howard, Hudson, 
Jenkins, Ryan, Turner, and Young, voted for the substitute of 
Gen. Beall, and Messrs. Bates, Day, McDonald, Schley, Towns, 
and Wofford, voted against it. 




32 BENCH AND BAR OF QEOROIA. 

It was at this session (1830) that the governor transmitted to 
the Legislature, on the day previous to adjournment, (the same 
day on which he received the original,) the copy of a mandate 
from the Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 
enjoining the execution of George Tassels, an Indian who had 
been convicted in Hall Superior Court of the crime of murder, and 
citing the State of Georgia to appear under the writ of error. 

The following is an extract from Gov. Gilmer's communication : — 

The object of this mandate is to control the State in the exercise of its 
ordinary jarisdiction, which in criminal cases has been vested by the Con- 
stitution exclusively in its Superior Courts. 

So far as concerns the exercise of the power which belongs to the 
Executive Department, orders received from the Supreme Court for the 
purpose of staying or in any manner interfering with the decisions of the 
courts of this State, in the exercise of their constitutional jurisdiction, 
will be resisted with whatever force the laws shall have placed at my 
command. 

If the judicial power thus attempted to be exercised by the courts of 
the United States is submitted to or sustained, it must eventuate in the 
utter annihilation of the State Governments, or in other consequences 
not less fatal to the peace and prosperity of our present highly-favored 
country. 

After being read, the message was referred with the accompany- 
ing document to a select committee, consisting of Messrs. Haynes, 
Bcall, of Twiggs, Schley, McDonald, and Howard, of Baldwin, on 
the part of the House, to join such committee as the Senate might 
appoint. 

On the same day, (22d December,) Mr. Haynes, from the com- 
mittee, made the following report : — 

Whereas, it appears by a communication made by his Excellency the 
Governor to this General Assembly that the Chief-Justice of the Supreme 
Court of the United States has sanctioned a writ of error, and cited the 
State of Georgia, through her Chief Magistrate, to appear before the 
Supreme Court of the United States to defend this State against said 
writ of error, at the instance of one George Tassels, recently convicted in 
Hall county Superior Court of the crime of murder. 

And whereas, the right to punish crimes against the peace and good 
order of this State, in accordance with existing laws, is an original and 
necessary part of sovereignty which the State of Georgia has never parted 
with. 

Be it Oierefore resolved, &c., That they view with feelings of the deepest 
regret the interference by the Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of the 
United States in the administration of the criminal laws of this State, and 
that such an interference is a flagrant violation of her right. 

Resolved further. That his Excellency the Governor be, and he and 
every other officer of this State is hereby, requested and enjoined to dis- 
regard any and every mandate and process that has been or shall be served 
npoD him or them^ purporting to proceed from the Chief-Justice^ or any 



ROBSRT AUaUSTUS BBALL. 33 

Afisociate-Jastice, or the Supreme Court of the United States, for the 
purpose of arresting any of the criminal laws of this State. 

And be it further rewlvedy That his Excellency the Governor be, and 
he is hereby, authorized and required with all the force and means placed 
at his command by the Constitution and laws of this State, to resist and 
repel any and every invasion from whatever quarter, upon the administra- 
tion of the criminal laws of this State. 

Resolved, That the State of Georgia will never so far compromit the 
sovereignty as an independent State as to become a party to the cause 
sought to be made before the Supreme Court of the United States bj the 
writ in question. 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he is herewith, 
authorized to communicate to the Sheriff of Hall county, by express, so 
much of the foregoing resolutions and such orders as are necessary to 
insure the full execution of the laws in the case of George Tassels, con- 
victed of murder in Hall county. 

The House Journal (p. 448) states that Mr. Turner offered the 
following as a substitute to said report, to wit : — 

Whereas, the circumstances under which the citation to the State from 
the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Tassels, an Indian, 
convicted of murder in the Superior Court of Hall county, are unfavorable 
to calm deliberation; and whereas, the General Assembly have confidence 
in the intelligence of the Executive and Judicial Departments of the 
Government of this State, into whose cognizance the case of Tassels will 
more immediately come. 

Resolved, That the action of the General Assembly is deemed unneces- 
sary at the present time in the case of George Tassels aforesaid. 

On the question to accept this substitute the yeas were 11; 
nays, 62. Among the former were Messrs. Day, McDonald, Schley, 
Turner, and C. Wellborn. 

On the question to agree to the original report the yeas were 
73 ; nays, 10. Among the latter were Messrs. Day, McDonald, 
Schley, Turner, and C. Wellborn. 

The next day the Senate concurred in the report, and at the 
appointed time the prisoner was executed under the sentence which 
his counsel attempted to reverse by writ of error. The case was 
not further prosecuted, as no relief could reach the plaintiff, thus 
avoiding the conflict of jurisdiction between the Federal and State 
(jovemments in the last resort, practically. 

As another scrap of political history deserves preservation, the 
author makes no apology for a somewhat-extended notice of the 
Anti-Tariff Convention held at Milledgeville, and especially as 
Gen. Beall was a delegate from Bibb, and prominent in its delibe- 
rations. The o£Scial record of its proceedings is now before the 
author, and he copies the names of all the delegates, with such 

other matters as seem most relevant. 
Vol. L— 8 



^ 



34 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

The Convention met in the Representative Chamber at three 
o'clock in the afternoon of Monday, 12th November, 1832, when 
the following delegates appeared from their respective counties : — 

1. Appling — Malcolm MorrUon, 

2. Baker — Young Allen. 

3. Baldwin — William H. Torrance and Saml. Rockwell. 

4. Bibb — Robert A. Beall and Robert Collins. 

5. Bullock — Samuel L. Lockhart. 

6. Burke — J. Lewis, E. Hughes, and David Taylor^ Jr. 

7. Camden — H. R. Ward and J. Hull. 

8. Cherokee — Z. B. Hargrove and W. W. Williamson. 

9. Clark — A. S. Clayton, Thos. Moore, and J. Ligon. 

10. Columbia — Isaac Ramsey, W. A. L. Collins, and J. Cartledge. 

11. Coweta — ThoB.WatBon 2LnA. Owen H.Kenan. 

12. Crawford — Henry Crowell and Hiram Warner. 

13. Decatur — Drury Fort and Jehu W. Keith. 

14. Do Kalb — Lewis J. Dupree^ D. Kiddoo, and 0. Clark. 

15. Dooly — Thomas H. Key. 

16. Early — Josiah 8. Patterson. 

17. Effingham — Clem. Powers. 

18. Elbert— Beverly Allen, I. N. Davis, and J. M. Tate. 

19. Emanuel — John R. Daniel. 

20. Glynn— Thomas Butler King. 

21. Greene — W. C. Dawson, J. G. Matthews, and W. Greer. 

22. Gwinnett— t/: (?. Park, W. Maltbie, Hines Holt, and S. 
McMullin. 

23. Hall— W. H. Underwood, J. McAfee, R. Sanford, and 
N. Garrison. 

24. Hancock — Thos. Haynes, Tully Vinson, and James Lewis. 

25. Harris — Jacob M. Guerry and Barkly Martin. 

26. Heard — Rene Fitzpatrick. 

27. Henry — A. R. Moore, Gibson Clark, J.Johnson and J. Coker. 

28. Houston — Walter L. Campbell, Hugh Lawson, and C. WeOr 
horn. 

29. Irwin — William Slone. 

30. Jackson — David Witt, J. Park, and J. G. Pittman. 

31. Jasper — Alfred Cuthbert, D. A. Reese, and M. Phillips. 

32. Jefferson — Roger L. Gamble and Philip S. Lemlie. 

33. Jones — W. S. C. Reid, J. L. Lewis, and T. G. Barron. 

34. Laurens — David Blackshear and Eason Allen. 

35. Lee — John G. Oliver. 

36. Lincoln — Rem Remson and Peter Lamar. 



BOBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 86 

37. Madison — Thos. Long and TT. M, Morton. 

38. Marion — Wiley Williams. 

39. Mcintosh — Thomas Spalding and James Troup. 

40. Meriwether — W. D. Alexander and Hugh W. Ector. 

41. Monroe — John Macpherson Berrien, Thos. N. Beall, Geo. 
W. Gordon, and Elbridge G. Cabiness. 

42. Montgomery — Joseph Ryals. 

43. Morgan — W. S. Stokes, Van Leonard, and C. Campbell. 

44. Muscogee — Allen Lawhon and A, S. Clifton. 

45. Newton — Charles Kennon, Richard L. Sims, and Seth P. 
Storrs. 

46. Oglethorpe — George R. Gilmer and John Moore. 

47. Pulaski — Burwell W. Bracewell. 

48. Putnam — L. W. Hudson, C. P. Gordon, and W. W. Mason. 

49. Rabun — Samuel Farris and Henry T. Mosely. 
t50. Randolph — Benjamin Holland. 

51. Richmond — John Forsyth^ William Oummingj and John 
P. King. 

52. Scriven — ^A. S. Jones and P. L. Wade. 

53. Talbot— Samuel W. Flournay and N. B. Powell. 

54. Taliaferro — ^Absalom Janes and S. C. Jeffries. 

55. Tatnall — Joseph Tillman. 

56. Thomas^ — William H. Reynolds and A. J. Dozier. 

57. Troup — Samuel A. Bailey and Julius C. Alford. 

58. Upson — Reuben J. Crews and John Robinson. 

59. Walton — Thos. W. Harris j T. J. Hill, and Orion Stroud. 

60. Warren — Henry Lockhart and Thos. Gibson^ Jr. 

61. Washington — S. Robinson, J. Peabody, and Morgan Broum. 

From the above roll, it appears that one hundred and thirty 
delegates presented credentials from sixty-one counties. The 
Hon. Geobob R. Gilmer was elected president, and William Y. 
Hansell, Benjamin T. Mosely, and Mansfield Torrance, Esqs., 
were appointed secretaries. 

On motion of Mr. Torrance, 

Resolved, That a committee of twenty-one be appointed, whose duty it 
shall be to report resolutions ezpressire of the sense of this Convention in 
relation to the Protective System, and the best and most efficient mode 
of obtaining relief from the evils of that system ; and that the said com- 
mittee be further instructed to report what objects ought to engage the 
attention of this Convention, and what will be the most efficient means of 
accomplishing the same. 

After the appointment of a Committee on Rules to govern the 



86 BENCH AND BAR OF OBORGIA. 

Convention, nothing more was done the first afternoon. On the 
second day, Mr. Forsyth submitted the following : — 

Besolvedj That a committee of five be appointed by the president to 
examine and report to this body at its next meeting, the authority of 
the persons assembled as Delegates from the difierent counties of the 
State to represent the people of their respective counties ; the resolutions, 
if any, under which the election in each county was held; the notice given 
of the time of the election; the manner of holding it, the number of votes 
given at the election, and the number of voters in the county. 

Resolved, That the individuals who have been elected as a committee 
of what is known as the Athens meeting, be, and they are hereby, 
requested to present to this body the correspondence they have held con- 
nected with the object of their appointment. 

Mr. Torrance oiTered, in lieu of the first resolution, the following 
as a substitute : — 

Resolved, That a Committee of Elections and Appointments be now 
appointed to inquire into the right of any member to hold his seat, when- 
ever the same shall be contested, and report the facts to the Convention. 

After a little skirmishing the resolutions and substitute were 
laid on the table for the present. The president then announced 
the appointment of the Committee of Twenty-one, to wit : — Messrs. 
Blackshear, Berrien, Forsyth, Cumming, Clayton, Cuthbert, 
Gamble, Reese, Spalding, Tait, Rockwell, Beall, of Bibb, Taylor, 
of Burke, Bailey, Warner, Dawson, Haynes, Gordon, of Putnam, 
Clark, of Henry, Janes, and Harris. 

On the third day, on motion of Mr. Rockwell, 

Resolved, That the Governor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, Judges of the Superior Courts, and the Hon. 
David Johnson and Chancellor Harper, of South Carolina, and editors and 
reporters of newspapers, be provided with seats within the bar. 

The Convention then resumed the unfinished business of the 
previous day and took up the first resolution of Mr. Forsyth, 
which, being read, Mr. Berrien proposed to amend it by striking 
out the following: — "The resolutions, if any, under which the 
election in each county was held ; the notice given of the time of 
the election ; the manner of ^ holding it, the number of votes given 
in the county** — and insert in lieu thereof the following words, to 
wit : — " and that the report of the said committee, when approved 
by this Convention, shall be attached to the proceedings of this 
body, to be submitted to the people of Georgia for their approba- 
tion or rejection." 

Perhaps on no other occasion in Georgia was there such an 
imposing display of eloquence. Mr. Forsyth stood forth in the 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BE ALL. 37 

majesty of his intellect and the graces of his unrivalled elocution. 
For three days the Convention and the crowded galleries listened 
to the debate with rapt attention. All conceded the victory to 
Mr. Forsyth in the preliminary discussion. He seemed as a 
giant, bearing down all obstacles in his way. Mr. Berrien took 
the floor amid plaudits from the gallery. He waved his hand 
and shook his head gravely, his beaming face upward, to repress 
the demonstration in his favor. What delight he afforded all 
present by his polished style and sweet delivery, may be imagined 
by those who ever had the good fortune to hear this American 
Cicero. Other speakers participated in the discussion; but the 
author does not remember all of them, although a spectator. 
Col. William Cumminq, in point of dignity and force, called to 
mind a proud Roman Senator. Messrs. Clayton, Torrance, 
Rockwell, Cuthbert, Spalding, Beall, G. W. Gordon, Haynes, 
and Alford, were among the principal debaters. Gov. Gilmer 
made an argument with his usual zeal and ability on the main 
question, at another stage of the Convention. 

In the mean time the president submitted to the Convention 
communications from the Hon. David Johnson and Chancellor 
Harper, touching political events in South Carolina, which were 
severally referred to the Committee of Twenty-one. 

On Friday, Gen. Blackshear, Chairman of the Committee of 
Twenty-one, made a report, which was read to the Convention by 
Mr. Berrien, the author of the report. It is too long for inser- 
tion here, though its ability would interest the political reader. 
After a brief preamble, it affirms, — 

1. That the Federal Grovernment is a confederacy formed by the States 
composing the same, for the specific purposes expressed in the Constitu- 
tion, and for those alone. 

2. That every exercise by the Federal Government, or by any depart- 
ment thereof, of powers not granted by the Constitution, notwithstanding 
it may be under the forms of law, is, in relation to the constituent States, 
a mere usurpation. 

3. That a government of limited powers can have no constitutional 
right to judge in the last resort of its own use or abuse of the powers con- 
ferred upon it, since that would be to substitute for the limitations of the 
constitutional charter the judgment of the agents who were employed to 
cany it into effect, — to annihilate those limitations by a power derived 
from the same instrument which created them. 

4. That the Federal Government is a government the powers of which 
are expressly limited by the Constitution which created it, and can there- 
fore have no constitutional right to judge in the last resort of the use or 
abuse of those powers. 

5. That it is essential to a confederated government, the powers of 




38 BENCH AND BAR OF QEORGIA. 

« 

which are expressly limited by the constitution which creates it, that 
there should exist somewhere a power authoritatively to interpret that 
iDStrument, — to decide in the last resort on the use or abuse of the 
authority which it confers upon the common agent of the confederating 
States : that such a power cannot belong to the agent, since that would 
be to substitute his judgment for the constitutional limitation; and that, 
in the absence of a common arbiter expressly designated by the Constitu- 
tion for this purpose, each State as such for itself, and in virtue of its 
sovereignty, is necessarily remitted to the exercise of that right. 

6. That the several States composing this Union were, at t\iti adoption 
of the Federal Constitution, free, sovereign, and independent States; that 
they have not divested themselves of this character by the relinquishment 
of certain powers to the Federal Government, — having associated with 
their sister states for purposes entirely compatible with the continued 
existence of their own original freedom, sovereignty, and independence. 

The seventh resolution declares the several Tariff acts of Con- 
gress, designed for the protection of domestic manufactures, 
unconstitutional and void. The eighth avers attachment to the 
Union, and perseverance in the means of redress. The ninth 
refuses to submit, and asks for consultation and concert with sister 
States to resist usurped authority ; and the tenth recommends the 
aggrieved States to hold a Southern Convention. The eleventh 
authorizes the president to appoint five superintendents in each 
county to take the sense of the people on the proceedings of the 
Convention, by voting at polls to be kept open from the 15th De- 
cember until the second Monday in February then next. The 
twelfth requires public notice of the result to be given, and the 
citizens to elect, by general ticket on the fourth Monday in March, 
delegates to represent Georgia in the proposed Convention of 
States. The thirteenth is for the Convention to meet again on 
the first Monday in July. The fourteenth is the following : — 

Resolved J That the President of this Convention do communicate the 
aforegoing resolutions, from one to ten inclusive, to the Governors of the 
several Southern States having common interests with us in the removal 
of the grievances of which we complain; to the Governors of the other 
States at his discretion, and asking them to give publicity to the same 
within their respective States, and earnestly inviting them to unite with 
us in Convention as the sure, perhaps the only, means of preserving the 
peace of the Union. 

The three other resolutions provide for the appointment of a 
Central Committee in Baldwin, to whom all the county superin- 
tendents shall certify the action before them ; for the publication 
of twenty thousand copies of the proceedings of the Conven- 
tiOD) &o. 

In the appendix to the Journal of the Convention, it is stated 



ROBBRT AUGUSTUS BBALL. 39 

that the following substitute to the Report of the Committee of 
"Twenty-one" was offered by Mr. Forsyth, in committee, and 
rejected : — 

Resolved, That it is not necessary to reiterate in a new form the 
opinions of the people on the subject of the Tariff, or the necessity for the 
abandonment of the protective system, to preserve the Union and to 
maintain harmony among the States. 

Besolved, That a Southern Convention should be called to consult on 
the best measures to procure a final and speedy abandonment of it by the 
General Government. 

Re&Avedy That the Legislature should provide for the appointment of 
Delegates to meet a Southern Convention whenever all the States 
south of the Potomac and north of the Mississippi agree to appoint their 
delegates for that purpose. 

Before a vote was taken in the Convention on the Report of the 
Committee of "Twenty-one,** and after the rejection of his resolu- 
tion touching the " authority of gentlemen to speak in the name 
of the people," Mr. Forsyth laid on the secretary's table a pro- 
test signed by himself and about fifty other delegates, all of whom 
then retired together from the Convention. The scene was very 
exciting, but it passed off quietly, and the remaining majority pro- 
ceeded with their business as though nothing material had occurred 
to weaken their deliberations. 

After sundry propositions and a few slight amendments, the 
report was agreed to by a vote of, — Teas, 64 ; Nays, 6. Com- 
paring the roll as given with those voting on the adoption of the 
report, the names of the seceding delegates are pretty well ascer- 
tflffned ; and on this basis the author has marked them in italics^ 
merely for reference as to old party divisions. 

Two important committees were appointed,-— one to address the 
people of Georgia, consisting of Messrs. Berrien, Clayton, Gordon, 
of Putnam, Beall, of Bibb, and Torrance ; and the other, styled 
the " Central Committee,** consisting of Messrs. W. H. Torrance, 
S. Rockwell, John H. Howard, Samuel Boykin, and James S. Cal- 
houn, whose duty it should be " to take all necessary steps to 
giving effect to the measures of this Convention,** — both of which 
committees soon afterwards published able addresses to the people 
of Georgia on the matters with which they were respectively 
charged. 

The author has dwelt freely on these topics for the principal 
reason that the young men of the State may understand the 
condition of parties more than twenty years ago, at a season of 
great peril to the Union ; and also because the Convention referred 



40 BBNCH AND BAR OF QEORQIA. 

to was anterior to the ^'Ordinance of Nullification" in a sister 
State, — all the proceedings in Carolina in opposition to the Tariff 
having the hearty sanction of Gen. Beall, whose opinions are to be 
illustrated by facts. Of the ten gentlemen on the two committees 
who thus appealed to the people of Georgia against the oppressions 
of the General Government, Maj. Howard is the only survivor! 
No formal action was ever had at the ballot-box to carry out the 
objects of the Convention. 

One incident, or rather legislative expression, though omitted at 
the proper place, connected with the public life of Gen. Beall, the 
author begs to introduce here. At the session of 1830, the late 
Gov. Towns, then a Representative, offered in the House a set of 
resolutions, the character of which may be inferred from the 
closing sentence of one of them : — " That disunion, it is firmly 
believed, will bring in its train discord, misery, and civil war ; and 
finally, that the people of this State deem those as their worst 
and bitterest enemies who seek to sow the seeds of disunion, and 
introduce the wretched doctrines of Consolidation and Nullification 
amongst them.'* On the motion of Mr. Dougherty they were laid 
on the table for the present, — Yeas, 86 ; Nays, 42. Mr. Bailey 
then moved to lay on the table, for the balance of the session, the 
resolutions of Gen. Beall, (to be seen elsewhere in this memoir,) 
and those offered by Mr. Murray, which was refused, — Yeas, 49 ; 
Nays, 74. On the question to adopt the preamble and resolutions 
of Gen. Beall, Mr. Brewster, of Gwinnett, moved to amend by 
adding, 

And he it further resolved, That the people of Georgia disapprove of 
the political opinions of the Hon. George M. Troup, as expressed in his 
toast at the Jefferson celebration dinner at Washington City, and in his 
letter replying to an invitation to the Columbia dinner. 

The amendment was, on motion of Mr. Turner, laid on the table 
for the remainder of the session, — Yeas, 93 ; Nays, 31. Among 
those voting against laying the amendment on the table, were 
Messrs. McDonald, Schley, and Towns. 

To understand what Mr. Brewster sought to condemn, the toast 
is here introduced : — 

By Gov. Troup, of Georgia. The Government of the United States : 
With more limited powers than the Republic of San Marino, it rules an 
empire more extended than the Roman, with the absoluteness of Tiberius, 
with less wisdom than Augustus, and less justice than Trajan and the 
Antonines. 



ROBERT AUGUSTUS BEALL. 41 

The following is an extract from Gov. Troup's letter of Septem- 
ber 21, 1830, referred to in the amendment : — 

Whatever the people of South Carolina in Convention shall resolve for 
their safety, interest, and happiness, will be right, and none will have the 
right to question it. You can change your own government at pleasure, 
and therefore you can throw off the government of the Union whenever 
the same safety, interest, and happiness require it. 

The author has thus followed Gen. Beall through his public 
career; and he concludes by a brief notice of his family, his 
declining health, and his religious opinions. 

Gen. Beall inherited the full name of his venerable father, who 
for many years resided in the county of Warren. Major Robert 
Augustus Beall, Sr., was universally beloved for his intelligence 
and virtues. He was a gentleman of easy address, and retained 
the etiquette of the olden time. He had a large family of chil- 
dren, mostly daughters, whom he educated in the best manner. 
His liberal hospitality, and the expense of sustaining a fashionable 
position in society, impaired his fortune and caused him to experi- 
ence reverses in his old age. He bore all, however, with compo- 
sure. At the election for commissioners to distribute the Cherokee 
lands by lottery, in 1831-2, he was chosen by the Legislature as 
one of the Board ; and, though infirm from age, he discharged his 
duties to the entire satisfaction of the public. He died some 
twenty years ago. Dr. Henry Lockhart of Apalachicola, Edward 
B. Young, of Eufaula, William H. Young and Robert M. Gunby, of 
Columbus, Robert Billups, of Texas, and John Billups, of Alabama, 
married his daughters. He had other children, two sons, William 
and Josias, with whom the author was slightly acquainted. The 
latter, Josias B. Beall, was killed in Texas at the massacre of 
Fannin's and Ward's command at Goliad, in 1836. 

In Octqber, 1828, Gen. Beall intermarried with Caroline, the 
heiress of Richard Smith, Esq., a wealthy citizen of Twiggs county. 
The portion of his wife was large, consisting of lands, slaves, and 
other valuables. Considerably in debt at the time, and having no 
skill or talent for accumulation. Gen. Beall permitted his affairs to 
become entangled in spite of the proceeds of his estates. The 
income reported by his managers was not equal to the lawful inte- 
rest on the capital employed in this form. He took up the idea 
that, by converting his property into bank-stock, it would be more 
productive in the shape of dividends, on which he might check at 
pleasure. He sold his estates, retaining servants for the house- 
hold, but the money was never converted into bank securities. An 



42 BENCH AND BAR 07 OEOBGIA. 

expensive style of living, and constant drains upon his purse, of 
which he did not see the drift at the time, led to a wreck of his 
fortune in eight years. His hospitality was that of a prince. No 
man could dispense the honors of such a life more gracefully, or 
with happier effect on his guests. 

The health of Gen. Beall Vas never robust. His complexion 
was alAvays bilious, and he had frequent attacks of colic from 
which he suffered severely. The following letter to the author 
shows his condition at such times : — 

Macon, Febraarj lOtb, 1882. 

Dear Major : — Will you be at Houston Court ? If yea, carry over 
our papers; and if not, send them so as to reach there early Monday 
moruiog. 

From the present state of my health, I consider it very doubtful 
whether I shall be able to attend. I la.st night took an emetic which 
threatened for some time serious consequences. It produced, in the first 
instance, cramp in my stomach, which finally extended to all my limbs. 
I was finally relieved by the professional skill of Dr. Buber. 

I made out a set of interrogatories in the case of , in which we 

are counsel for the defendant, to take the testimony of , and left 

them with a friend for Judge Holt to carry down. They were neglected 
to be given to him and mislaid. 

Will you make out another set, and forward them to M. Myers, Esq., 
for execution ? I do not know what questions to ask, but our client 
requests it, and he is entitled to have his wishes gratified. Ask her if 

did not give the negro to his wife upon their separation, &c., and 

any other questions which may occur to you. Ask her what she stated 

to in Marion, on the subject of 's title to the negro. 

Yours truly, Robt. A. Beall. 

He was compelled to be abstemious in diet ; and amidst the dis- 
sipated company into which his late hours threw him, he never 
drank to intoxication. He was generally cheerful, and always 
ready to converse with his friends, even after his heaviest losses, 
without betraying his inward struggles. With the people he was 
a decided favorite, ever accessible and friendly. His countenance 
had a firm, yet benignant expression; it was lit up by dark, 
sparkling eyes, that charmed all who gazed upon them. He was 
an adept in human nature; and his success in controlling the 
minds of men by his suavity was an obstacle to his advancement 
in the law by enabling him to achieve by words easily uttered w^hat 
others had failed to accomplish by hard labor, — the satisfaction of 
clients. As before stated, he put off drudgery to the last. When 
forced, however, to apply himself, he would toil with his pen, or at 
his books, the whole night, and come into court next morning 
firesh and courteous, with triumph on his brow. 




ROBERT AUaUSTUS BEALL. 48 

Previous to 1835, Gen. Beall had been a skeptic in religion. 
Daring a revival in Macon that year, under the ministry of the 
Rev. John Howard, his infidelity was crushed and ho became a 
new man, rejoicing in the pardon of his sins. He connected him- 
self with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was frequently 
called on to pray in public. He engaged with zeal in the services 
of the sanctuary, and w^th happy effect on the minds of others. 
His mortal career was now drawing to a close. In the spring of 
1836, his constitution gave way, and, after a lingering illness of 
several months, he died in peace, July 16, 1836. His death pro- 
duced a deep sensation in the community. Extensive funeral 
honors were paid him. The bar, and literary societies of which he 
was a member, manifested peculiar respect for his memory. The 
press teemed with eulogies ; and men of all parties united in con- 
fessing his extraordinary gifts, and the lofty qualities which 
marked his character ; — all mourned his exit as a public loss. 

Such was Robert AuausTUS Beall, — a man of worth and 
infirmity. 



m. 

JOHN MACPHERSON BEBRIEN, LL,D. 

The annals of America furnish many distinguished names in 
the Cabinet and in the field, in the Judiciary and in the halls of 
legislation. John Macpherson Berrien has been too recent an 
actor in public afiairs for his character as yet to possess that influ- 
ence over the minds of men which it is destined to exert. While 
living, he had to encounter an active political rivalry which was 
not always scrupulous in the meaAs employed to gain its point. 
He lived to establish a reputation of which any orator, jurist, 
statesman, or scholar, might justly be proud. It will be the object 
of the author to gather up a few broken fragments in the history 
of this remarkable man, and to render that justice to his memory 
which an admiring public will readily sanction. 

Of his ancestry much might be said to gratify his descendants. 
On the revocation of the Edict of Nantz by Louis XIV., in 1685, 
withdrawing from the Protestants the security afforded them in the 
exercise of their religion by Henry IV., in 1598, the best blood 
of France was dispersed in foreign countries. America became 
the asylum of many of the persecuted religionists, called Hugue- 
nots originally in contempt, but now a term which has a universal 
significancy, conveying the ideas of fortitude and the loftiest vir- 
tues. His paternal ancestors descended from the Huguenots who 
fled from France into Holland when the Edict of Nantz was 
revoked. John Berrien, his grandfather, was one of the judges 
of the Supreme Court of New Jersey ; and his father. Major John 
Berrien, at a very early age removed to Georgia. He was with 
Washington's army at Valley Forge, participated gallantly in the 
battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778, and in several other engage- 
ments. He continued in the service until the close of the war. 
In the mean time he married, at Philadelphia, Margaret Macpher- 
son, whose brother, John Macpherson, was aid-de-camp to General 
Montgomery, and fell with him at Quebec. Another brother was 
General William Macpherson, who gave up his commission in the 
British army and escaped to the American lines, in which he ren- 
dered efficient serrice. 

44 




JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 45 

In the house occupied by General Washington as head-quarters 
whence he issued his farewell address to the army, John MaOt 
PHERSON Berrien was born on the 23d day of August, 1781, in 
the State of New Jersey. His father brought him to Georgia 
when he was only a few months old. When of a suitable age, he 
was sent to various schools in New York and New Jersey. He 
graduated at Princeton at the age of fifteen. The late Judge 
Gaston, of North Carolina, was a classmate. 

On his return to Georgia, he read law in the office of the 
Hon. Joseph Clay, and was admitted to the bar in 1799, before he 
completed his eighteenth year. In 1809, he was elected Solicitor- 
General, and the next year Judge of the Eastern circuit. The 
latter office he held four terms. While on the bench, the question 
of the constitutionality of the alleviating law came before him ; 
and, in a convention of all the judges at Augusta, he delivered the 
opinion declaring the act to be unconstitutional. This was a 
triumph of law over popular excitement. The people were dis- 
tressed in financial matters, and had elected a majority to the 
Legislature to grant relief, even to the suspension of debts, or at 
least of the process enforcing them. The public judgment has 
long since exploded all such measures as the veriest trifling with 
difficulties, to say nothing of the principle. 

While war exbted with Great Britain from 1812 to 1815, 
Judge Berrien was elected to the command of a regiment of 
volunteer cavalry, which rendezvoused at Darien, watching the 
British forces on St. Simon's Island and elsewhere in that quarter. 
No opportunity, however, of conflict with the enemy occurred. 
He thus united the civil and military character in as perfect 
« model as the forum and the camp ever presented ; for he was 
not the man to hold any office without making it honorable by the 
dignity and qualifications which he brought to the discharge of its 
duties. 

The only time when complaint or dissatisfaction was even whis- 
pered on account of any of his judicial acts was when he gave 
sentence on the trial of Hopkins for the murder of Mcintosh. It 
seems that the overseer of Hopkins assisted his escape in a boat, 
and had no further connection with the ofience. On conviction for 
manslaughter, the principal was sent to the penitentiary without 
laboTj and the overseer was subjected to hard labor for a term of 
years. The public, not acquainted with the facts, became indig- 
nant at the discrimination, — the rich culprit to lounge at his ease 
m the State prison, while his poor, innocent friend was doomed to 



46 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROIA. 

the anvil or the workbench in constant toil, in sight of each other. 
An investigation was demanded by Judge Berrien, and, at the 
session of the Legislature in 1818, both Houses decided unani- 
mously that there was no just ground for the charge. The 
fact was, the presiding judge saw that to compel Mr. Hopkins, in 
his feeble condition, to perform the ordinary labor of a convict 
would be to take his life by judicial execution when a less punish- 
ment was all that the law authorized. Such an act of humanity, 
so far from deserving censure, merits approbation. It required 
moral courage of a high order to confront the possibilities of mis- 
construction, and to vindicate the act when assailed. 

After cjosing his judicial career with the highest credit to him- 
self and with the hearty approval of the people of Georgia, Judge 
Berrien consented to serve his fellow-citizens of Chatham county, 
in the years 1822 and 1823. During the latter session,* as 
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he introduced the fol- 
lowing : — 

Resolvedj 5y the General Assemhly of the State of Georgia, That it is 
expedient that some fit and proper person should be appointed by the 
Legislature at its present session to compile and digest the statute-laws of 
England that are now in force in the State of Georgia, and whose duty it 
shall be within two years to report the same to his Excellency the 
Gk)vernor, who, after the same has been examined of three learned in the 
law, to be appointed by him for that purpose, shall approve or disapprove 
of the same, and for their said services shall be paid by the Governor out 
of the contingent fund ; and when the said work shall be performed and 
approved, that his Excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby, author- 
ized to subscribe for two thousand copies in convenient bound volumes : 
Provided, the same does not exceed the price of four dollars per volume, 
to be disposed of and distributed as the Legislature may direct. 

This resolution passed both Houses, and was approved by the 
Governor, who appointed the Hon. Thomas U. P. Charlton, William 
Davies, and Charles Harris, of Savannah, to examine the work 
prepared by the Hon. William Schley, — well known to the profes- 
sion as Schley's Digest. 

His abilities were so conspicuous in the State Senate that Mr. 
Berrien was elected in 1824 to the Senate of the United States, 
and took his seat in that body March 4, 1825, at a time when it 
was an honor indeed to represent a sovereign State in the Councils 
of the Union. Unfortunately, the Senatorial robes do not confer 
as much reputation in these latter days, owing to causes easily 
understood. While something is lost on the score of dignity by 



* Se« ScnAtc Journal, p. 178. 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 47 

the contrast, much is perhaps gained to popular rights^ among 
which may be included the right of very moderate men to exercise 
high public trusts. Judge Berrien at once took a commanding 
position in the Senate. He shared in the debates only on import- 
ant questions, and then, maturely prepared as he never failed to 
be, his arguments were sustained by a logic and eloquence which 
gave universal delight. When Judge Berrien entered the Senate 
of the United States, in 1825, he was in the forty-fourth year of 
his age, — bordering on that golden period when enthusiasm usually 
abates and the purer offices of the intellect are brought into full 
action. He had quite a youthful appearance, and gained from 
Chief-Justice Marshall the appellation of the " honey-tongued 
Georgia youth." 

At the session of the Legislature of Georgia in 1828, a " Pro- 
test" against the Tariff was adopted, which was committed to our 
Senators, Judge Berrien, and his colleague, Hon. 0. H. Prince, to 
be laid before Congress. In January, 1829, Judge Berrien sub- 
mitted this document in a style so beautiful and impressive that 
his speech on the occasion was justly termed by the press a model 
of its kind. The title of American Cicero was accorded to him, 
and never did he forfeit the proud distinction. 

On the election of General Jackson to the Presidency, in 1828, 
that distinguished personage tendered the office of Attorney-Gene- 
ral to Judge Berrien, thus making him one of his constitutional 
advbers. It was accepted, and in March, 1829, he resigned his 
seat in the Senate and passed into the Cabinet. No man had 
brighter prospects or a smoother way, to all appearances. The 
first annoyance to which he was subjected was a complaint by 
Gen. Call that the office of Attorney-General brought him in con- 
flict with a large number of important land-claims in Florida, in 
which he had been previously of counsel adverse to the United 
States, and that the President was not apprized of this relation 
when he made the appointment. Judge Berrien promptly met the 
charge, and asserted that he distinctly informed Gen. Jackson of 
his professional connection with these claims, and reserved the 
right to fulfil his existing engagements with his clients. With this 
understanding he accepted the office of Attorney-General, and 
nothing more was heard on the subject. 

When he removed to Washington City as a member of the 
Cabinet, his family consisted mostly of daughters, Mrs. Berrien 
having died a short time previously. This fact is mentioned hero 
as applicable to the cause which led to the dissolution of the 



48 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOBGIA. 

Cabinet in 1831. No attempt to give the history of this affair 
will be made further than is necessary to place the conduct of 
Mr. Berrien in its true light. The sympathies of the President 
had been invoked by his Secretary of War (Maj. Eaton) in his 
domestic affairs, because certain members of the Cabinet (all, 
indeed, except Mr. Van Buren, who was a widower) had omitted 
those courtesies which society had established respecting formal 
visits or calls, either in person or by card, as the case might hap- 
pen, — that Mrs. Eaton was not honored by the presence of those 
gentlemen or their families at her regular levees, nor were her 
"calls" returned. The cry of persecution was raised, which 
touched the sensibilities of Gen. Jackson, who rashly undertook to 
"regulate" these family matters. The consequence was that his 
authority in this sphere was not admitted, each gentleman leaving 
his own family to decide upon their company. Dissensions con- 
tinued to increase. Gen. Jackson was not in the habit of yielding 
his point; nor were the Attorney-General, Secretary of the Trea- 
sury, and Secretary of the Navy, (Berrien, Ingham, and Branch,) 
disposed to surrender their domestic government to his dictation. 
They at once resigned. Much was said on the subject at the time. 
The United States Telegraphy edited by Gen. Duff Green, was the 
official organ of the administration ; but adhering to Mr. Calhoun 
in his quarrel with the President, simultaneously with the rupture 
of the Cabinet, it was superseded by the Q-lohey with F. P. Blair as 
editor, who denied the retiring members of the Cabinet the privi- 
lege of vindicating their course through its columns. Mr. Berrien, 
as also Messrs. Ingham and Branch, severally published addresses 
to the people of the United States, setting forth the whole matter 
in quite a spirited array. Niles* RegiBter^ and all the leading 
papers of the day, copied the appeals, and the counter-state- 
ments of all the high functionaries concerned. Mr. Berrien never 
wrote with more animation and eloquence than in this controversy. 
The following correspondence between Mr. Berrien and the 
President is submitted : — 

Washirqton, Jane 15, 1881. 
Sir : — I herewith tender to you my resignation of the office of Attorney- 
Oeneral of the United States. Two considerations restrained rae from 
taking this step at the moment when your communication to the Secretary 
of the Treasury, announcing your determination to reorganize your Cabi- 
net, first met my eye. There was nothing in the retirement of the Secre- 
taries of State or of War, or in the distinct and personal considerations 
which they had assigned for this measure, which made it obligatory upon, 
or even proper for, me to adopt a similar course. Such a step, with any 
reference to that occurrence, could only become so on my part as an act 



JOHN MACPHER60N BERRIBN. 49 

of conformity to year will. Yoa had felt this, and had announced your 
wishes to the Secretaries of the Treasury and Navy respectively. I had 
a right to expect a similar communication of them, and conformed to the 
wishes and opinions of my fellow-citizens of Georgia when I determined 
to await it. An additional consideration was presented hy the fact that I 
had heen charged, at the moment of my departure from this place, with 
the performance of certain puhlic duties which were yet unfinished, and 
my report concerning which you did not expect to receive until my 
return. I was gratified to learn from yourself that you had taken the 
same view of the subject, having postponed the communication of your 
wishes to me until my arrival at this place, without expecting in the 
mean time any communication from me. It is due to myself further to 
state that, from the moment when I saw the communication referred to, I 
have considered my official relation to you as terminated, or as subsisting 
only until my return to the city should enable mo to conform to your 
wishes by the final surrender of my office, which it is the purpose of this 
note to make. 

I retiFB, then, sir, with cheerfulness from the station to which your 
confidence had called me, because I have the consciousness of having 
endeavored to discharge its duties with fidelity to myself and to the coun- 
try. Uninfluenced by those considerations which have been avowed by 
that portion of my colleagues who have voluntarilv separated themselves 
from you, totally ignorant of any want of harmony in your Cabinet, which 
either has or ought to have impeded the operations of your administra- 
tion, I performed this act simply in obedience to your will. I have not 
the slightest disposition to discuss the question of its propriety. It is 
true that, in a government like ours, power is but a trust to be used for 
the benefit of those who have delegated it, and that circumstances might 
exist in which the necessity of self- vindication would justify such an 
inquiry. The first consideration belongs to those to whom we are both 
and equally accountable. From the influence of the second you have 
relieved me by your explicit declaration that no complaint affecting either 
my official or individual conduct has at any time reached you. You have 
assured mo that the confidence which induced you originally to confer the 
appointment upon me remains unshaken and undiminished, and have 
been pleased to express the regret which you feel at the separation which 
circumstances have, in your view of the subject, rendered unavoidable. 
Tou have kincUy added the assurance of your continued good wishes for 
my welfare. You will not, therefore, refuse me the gratification of 
expressing my earnest hope that, under the influence of better counsels, 
your own and the interests of our common country may receive all the 
benefits which you may have anticipated from the change of your confi- 
dential advisers. A very few days will enable me to put my office in a 
condition for the reception of my successor, and I will advise you of the 
&ot as soon as its arrangement is completed. 

I am respectfully, sir, your obedient servant, 

Jn. Maophebson Berrien. 

To THE President or the United States. 

Washimgtor, Jane 16, 1881. 

Sir : — I have received your letter resigning the office of Attorney- 
General. 

In the conversation which I held with you the day before yesterday 
Vol. I.. 



50 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

upon this subject, it was my desire to present to you the considerationa 
upon which I acted in accepting the resignation of the other members of 
the Cabinet, and to assure you, in regard to yourself as well as to them, 
that they imply no dissatisfaction with the manner in which the duties of 
the respective departments have been performed. It affords me great 
pleasure to find that you have not misconceived the character of those 
considerations, and that you do justice to the personal feelings with which 
they are connected. 

I will only add that the determination to change my Cabinet was dic- 
tated by an imperious sense of public duty, and a thorough, though pain- 
full, conviction that the stewardship of power with which I am clothed 
called for it as a measure of justice to those who had been alike invited to 
maintain near me the relation of confidential advisers. Perceiving that 
the harmony in feeling, so necessary to an efficient administration, had 
failed in a considerable degree to mark the course of this, and having 
assented on this account to the voluntary retirement of the Secretaries of 
State and War, no alternative was left me but to give this assent a lati- 
tude coextensive with the embarrassments which it recognised, and the 
duty which I owed to each member of the Cabinet. 

In accepting your resignation as Attorney-General, I take pleasure in 
expressing my approbation of the zeal and efficiency with which its duties 
have been performed, and in assuring you that you carry with you my 
best wishes for your prosperity and happiness. 

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Andrew Jackson. 

John M. Berrien, Esq. 

P.S. — You will please continue to discharge the duties of the office of 
Attorney-General until you make all those arrangements which you may 
deem necessary, which, when completed, and I am notified thereof by 
you, a successor will be appointed. A. J. 

Washington, Jane 22, 1831. 
Sir : — In conformity to the suggestion contained in your note of the 
I5th inst., I have to notify you that the arrangements necessary to put 
the office of the Attorney- General in a condition for the reception of my 
successor are now complete. 

The misinterpretations which are contained in the newspapers on tho 
subject of my retirement from office make it proper that this correspond- 
ence should be submitted to the public, as an act of justice both to you 
and to myself. 

I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant, 

Jn. Macpherson Berrien. 
To the President op the United States. 

Washington, June 22, 1831. 

Sir : — Your note of this day is received, advising me " In conformity 
to the suggestions contained in my (your) note of the I5th inst., I (you) 
have to inform you (me) that the arrangements necessary to put the office 
of the Attorney-General in a condition for the reception of my successor 
are now complete." 

For reasons assigned in your note, vou further observe, '^make it 
proper that this correspondence should be submitted to the public, as an 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 51 

act of justice both to you and myself."— I am sure I can have no objec- 
tion to your submitting them as you propose, as you believe this to be 
necessary. 

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Andrew Jackson. 
John M. Berrien, Esq. 

Here the author will go back a few years to notice two literary 
discourses delivered by Mr. Berrien, — one at Athens, in 1828, and 
the other at Princeton, in 1830. On the first occasion, he and 
Judge Clayton were the orators, each representing one of the rival 
societies of Franklin College. Both selected Eloquence as the 
theme, — one contending that it could be acquired by art, and 
ought to be methodical and persuasive ; the other that oratory was 
a natural gift, and moved the passions of men by storm, without 
any particular rules. These two were highly-finished productions, 
and still rank among the classics of the day. 

The discourse at Princeton was delivered while Mr. Berrien was 
Attorney-General, in the zenith of his fame, with a cloudless 
future before him. He was said to be so much a favorite of 
President Jackson that the mantle of Chief-Justice Marshall would 
probably be cast on his shoulders if the opportunity occurred. 
The author well remembers the warm compliments and predictions 
of honor that flowed upon Mr. Berrien from all quarters. And he 
will further add, that it was in the Princeton address he learned 
for the first time, from a man so gifted and successful, so com- 
manding in genius and reputation, as Mr. Berrien, that glory was 
a delusion. The passage to which he refers the author committed 
to memory at the time, and he will venture to repeat it for its sound 
philosophy. Addressing himself to the graduating class, Mr. Ber- 
rien said : — 

My young brothers ! The world on which you arc entering in all the 
ardor of hope, in all the purity of uncorrupted feeling, is arrayed in 
charms which it borrows from fancy, and which will vanish at your 
approach. The pleasure with which it allures the unwary is brief and 
evanescent as the dream of the morning. Its floats gaily on the advan- 
cing tide, but vanishes with the flood. You will be too surely called to 
exert the courage which can encounter danger with calmness, and the 
fortitude which endures and triumphs over calamity; but, on this side the 
grave, the beautiful vision which now dazzles your inexperienced eye 
will forever elude your grasp. Human life is but a step in the infinite 
series of existence, — a point at which a man pauses to look around him 
before he launches on eternity's ocean. 

In 1830, a volume of " Sketches of Public Characters" appeared 
from the New York press, in which (p. 68) Mr. Berrien is thus 
introduced : — 



52 BSNCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

The preseot Attorney-General, John Macpherson Berrien, is from 
Georgia, but I understand that he is a native of Philadelphia. He is a 
most eloquent speaker. In the Senate he was a model for chaste, free, 
beautiful elocution. He seemed to be the only man that Webster softened 
his voice to, when he turned from his seat to address him. There is not 
the slightest dash in his manner : it is as grave as it is pleasant. His 
views are clear, and he meets the subject manfully. In his arguments 
there is no demagogical praises of his constituents, no tirade of abuse 
against his opponents or of the section of country from whence they came. 
He is said to have been a good judge on the bench and an excellent 
lawyer at the bar, and surely he was a host for his party in the Senate. 
He is now an Attorney-General, and a Cabinet councillor as well as 
counsel for the Cabinet. The public of all parties have great confidence 
in him, and he stands fair for higher promotion. It is so seldom that we 
hear in Congress a classical style of speaking that a man who has any 
regard for the advancement of taste admires such a speaker. He is said 
to be a lover of literature, and it is to be hoped that in his high office he 
will advise the President to recommend its protection and encouragement. 
The President and heads of departments can do much for literature and 
science if they feel disposed to do it. 

A few months after his return from Washington City, on leaving 
the Cabinet, Mr. Berrien was an invited guest at a public dinner 
given at Milledgeville, in November, 1831, as a testimony of 
respect to Gov. Gilmer, who had failed in his re-election to the 
Executive. Among the sentiments offered was the following : — 

John Macphermm Berrien: — ^We hail with pleasure his return to 
Georgia. His services in Congress, in the Cabinet of the United States, 
and in the Free Trade Convention, are viewed with grateful feelings by 
his fellow-citizens of this State. 

In responding, he entertained the large company in a speech 
nearly half an hoar, in his best style, both as to composition and 
delivery. He did ample justice to the policy of President Jackson, 
saying that of foreign powers he demanded nothing more than 
justice, and would accept nothing less. He eulogized the Presi- 
dent as the friend of Georgia, firm in his course for the removal 
of the Indians ; but when the Chief-Magistrate of the Republic 
sought to prescribe rules and to select associates for the families 
of his Cabinet, he scorned the dictation. The author never heard 
Mr. Berrien speak until that dinner. There was a magic in the 
tones of his voice which never before captivated his ear. He 
heard him on several occasions afterwards with equal delight, — 
once in the Circuit Court of the United States, before Judges 
Johnson and Cuyler, in 1833, in a large ejectment cause.'*' 



* Winn V, Patterson, 9 Peters's Reports, G68. 



JOHN MACPHER60N BERRIEN. 53 

The fame of Mr. Berrien as a profound jurist and brilliant 
advocate (two characters rarely united) secured him about as 
much professional employment as he desired, at home, as well as 
in the adjoining States, and in the Supreme Court at Washington. 
He was very laborious, and never appeared in a cause without full 
preparation. He has been known to pass the whole night in 
searching up authorities and arranging for the trial of the next 
day. In criminal cases he seldom failed of an acquittal, however 
complicated the facts. His arguments were conclusive. He stood 
by unanimous consent at the head of his profession in Georgia, if 
not in the entire South. 

Finding it necessary to move on the subject, the Legislature of 
Georgia, in 1838, passed the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby, 
requested to appoint forthwith three commissioners, whose duty it shall 
be to take the whole subject of State Finance in hand, arrange, digest, 
and report, at the earliest possible day of the next session of the Legisla- 
ture, a system of finance for the State, which, calling into action all her 
resources, shall afford ample and sufficient means to sustain, as in the 
present age they should be sustained, the great interests of Public Educa- 
tion and Internal Improvement. 

Gov. Gilmer accordingly appointed Judge Berrien, Hon. W. W. 
Holt, and Hon. A. H. Chappell, to execute the resolution. The 
report of sixty-four printed pages, made at the next session, is 
very elaborate and comprehensive. It is a document evincing 
great sagacity in the details, from which a few passages are 
selected. The introductory part is known to be from the pen of 
Mr. Berrien : it bears the evidence. He of course assisted in 
other portions. In unfolding the duty and resources of the State, 
the report says : — 

A State possessing an extent of territory which stretches ^m the 
seaboard to the mountains, wide-spreading on every side; whose easy and 
gentle ascent is free from those irregularities of surface which elsewhere 
obstruct the progress of interior communications ; watered by noble rivers 
which are never sealed by the frosts of winter, and whose estuaries form 
safe and commodious harbors; possessing, too, a variety of soil and 
climate which admirably fit it for the production of all that is useful to 
man ; — such a State, the cherished abode of a free, enlightened, and 
enterprising people, is called to the consideration of the high duties 
which, in the providence of God, are devolved upon her. 

She is called to this consideration, moreover, at an epoch in the world's 
histoiT which has no parallel in the annals of time ; when science, direct- 
ing all its energies to purposes of practical utility, has advanced with 
unexampled rapidity in all those arts which minister to the substantial 
enjoyment of man ; when the other nations of the world, and the other 



54 BENCH AND BAB OF QEORQIA. 

States of this Confederacy, are eagerly pressing forward to grasp the bril- 
liant prize which is presented to their view ; when, amid the aniversal 
and cheering cry of '^ Onwards ! Onwards !" among nations urging on the 
cause of internal improvement, to the laggard in the race, momentarily 
excited by the prospect, but too inert to engage in the struggle, is denied 
the full enjoyment even of that which has hitherto sufficed to satisfy his 
desires, — thus illustrating the emphatic denunciation of Holy Writ : — 
'^ From him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away 
from him." 

And why should Georgia hesitate to nerve herself for the struggle ? 
Why should she linger in the race ? The voice which issued from the 
legislative halls, at the close of its last sittings, has been cheered by the 
responsive acclamations of her people. Rising in the strength of their 
intellect and in the fervor of their patriotism, contemplating with grate- 
ful enthusiasm the multiplied resources which the bounty of Providence 
has bestowed upon them, and animated by the still more growing pros- 
pects which a near futurity opens to their view, they, too, have joined in 
the universal acclaim of the nations, and bid you '^ God-speed" in the 
discharge of your high duties. 

Why, then, should Georgia hesitate to nerve herself for the struggle ? 
Why should she linger in the race ? It is not because her chosen Repre- 
sentatives are careless of the high interests which a free and confiding 
people have intrusted to their patriotism, to their wisdom, to their 
ceaseless vigilance. Is it because the prize is valueless? To sustain, 
as in the present age they ought to be sustained, the great interests 
of Public Education and Iniei'nal Improvement, is the object of your 
labors. 

Of Public Education ! The improvement of the mind ; the cultivation 
of science and the arts; the diffusion of knowledge; the universal 
instruction of a whole people. 

Of Internal Improvement ! Improving our navigable rivers ; connect- 
ing them by canals ; traversing the State with railroads ; uniting them to 
the termini of similar communications in the adjacent States of Tennessee 
and Alabama ; furnishing means for the cheap and rapid transportation 
of our produce to market; carrying home to every man's door the supplies 
of the great Southwest, and those of foreign nations from our Atlantic 
border; bringing the mountains and the seaboard in such close proximitv 
that the waves of the ocean may, almost without a figure, be said to wash 
their base; and, finally, scaling those mountain-heights, and along the 
line of similar improvements in other States, establishing our communica- 
tions with the great river of the West ; thus making friends of those who 
were strangers to each other, and brethren of those who had looked upon 
each other with distrust. 

No ! with such objects in view, it cannot be that the prize is deemed 
valueless. It is, indeed, of inestimable value. Is it attainable ? 

Does Georgia possess the means to accomplish so great an enterprise ? 
Are her resources adequate to the expenditure which it will necessarily 
involve ? This is, in truth, the only inquiry. The duty of answering it, 
according to the best information they can command, has devolved upon 
the undersigned. Fully sensible of the magnitude of the subject, and of 
their inability to meet the expectations of your honorable body, they, 
nevertheless, invite your attention to this interesting inquiry. 

Our attention is first to be directed to an examination of the actual 




JOHN MACPHSRSON BERRIEN. 55 

resources of the State. These may be said to consist^ or rather (in part) 
to have consisted, — 

1. Of the Public Lands. 2. Of Taxes. 3. Of the Funds of the State 
in the Central Bank. 

Thus far the language of the report is copied, as showing the 
earnest and hopeful visions of Judge Berrien twenty years ago, 
which he lived to see realized in a considerable measure. Further 
items in the report will be condensed. 

The quantity of land in Georgia was shown by two methods, — 
from surveys of record, and from the tax-digests in the Comptrol- 
ler's oflBce. The comparatively small difference between the two 
shows the accuracy with which tax-returns are made by the 
receivers in the several counties : — 

Reported by Surveyor-General acres 35,515,526 

Reported by Comptroller taxed " 35,866,336 

Excess of taxation 350,810 

But it appears from another return of the Surveyor- General 
that the State has granted more than either of these amounts of 
land ; consequently the income from grants has entirely ceased. 

The tax system is next examined, and sundry objections to it 
urged. Estimating the land at $3 per acre, and slaves at $400 
each, the value of $200,000,000 of property is connected with 
agriculture in Georgia, which paid a tax of only $53,450 ; while 
the capital employed in commerce at the same time was but 
$18,304,148, upon which was assessed $28,600. The classification 
of certain lands is noticed as onerous. The same tax paid on all 
slaves under sixty years, — mechanics worth from $2000 to $3000 
paying no more than a common field-hand, and no more than the 
merchant paid on each $100 of his stock in trade. This inequality 
is condemned in the report. After the Central Bank was esta- 
blished, and its profits supposed to be sufficient to support the State 
Government, the general tax was relinquished in 1835. For 1834 
the tax-account stood thus : — 

Amount of tax returned as due $56,024 36 

Amount of tax paid into the Treasury 39,192 18 

Lost in commissions, insolvents, and defaulters $16,832 18 

The statistics of the Central Bank are given at considerable 
length in the report, showing that when the bank was first organ- 
ized, January 29, 1829, it had specie and cash funds to the amount 
of $513,101 77 ; and on the 2d of November, 1829, out of 




56 BENCH AND BAB OF aSOBaiA. 

$855,597 90 due the State in bonds and notes at the time the 
bank went into operation, the sum of $117,340 92 had been con- 
verted into accommodation-paper running in the bank, — making 
in all a fund for discounting equal to $630,340 69. For the ten 
years from 1829 to 1838 inclusive, a table is submitted in the 
report, exhibiting the discounts and profits for each year, all 
rammed up as follows : — 

The aforegoing statement shows that for the ten years which it em- 
braces, the sum total of the discounts of the bank was $11,975,985 73, 
and that the sum total of the profits for that time was 8565,184 21. To 
determine the rate of profit which these results show to have been made 
on the capital employed by the bank, it must be borne in mind that the 
discounts are based on capital only, and represent nothing but capital ; 
and that consequently, whatever amount of discounted paper appears at 
any time to have been held by the bank, it is certain that an equal 
amount of capital had come to the hands of the bank and was used in 
those discounts. Then, inasmuch as all the discounts for ten years 
amounted to $11,975,985 73, which makes an average for each year of 
$1,197,598 57, it follows that the average amount of the State's moneyed 
capital which the bank each year employed in discounts was also the sum 
of $1,197,598 57. And the average profit thereon for each year was 
$56,513 42, which is equal to an interest of 4 7-lOths per cent, per 
annum. 

Whether this be a good or a bad business for the State, in a mere finan- 
cial view of the matter, depends on the question whether the State might 
not, with as much ease and as little peril, have realized a better profit in 
some other known mode of employing the public money. And here the 
aforesaid results of her investments in the stocks of certain of our joint- 
stock banking companies are at hand, and furnish a decisive answer. For 
it has already been shown that on her capital of $1,005,000 vested in 
those banks she has realized, in the ten years just above mentioned, a 
dear profit of $745,860 92, which gives an average for each year of 
$74,586 09, and is equal to an interest of 7 4~10ths per cent, per annum 
on the whole capital thus invested. 

If the capital employed by the Central Bank during these same ten years 
had yielded an equal rate of profit, to wit, an interest of 7 4-lOths per cent, 
instead of an interest of 4 7-lOths per cent., then the sum total of its 
profits for that time would have been $886,222 50, instead of $565,134 
21, whereby the State would have been gainer to the amount of $321,088 
29 ; which sum must consequently be set down as so much loss in ten 
years, chargeable to the policy of having discarded the old and well-tried 
system of investing in ordinary bank-stocks for the new and questionable 
experiment of the Central Bank. 

The report discusses the policy of loans for other than commer- 
cial purposes, the bearing of certain fiscal measures, the credit 
system, exchanges, the abuse of accommodation-paper, and the 
vmrious channels through which the public prosperity is affected 
bj the circulation of money on proper equivalents. The views set 
tnrtltin the report are worthy to rank high in the best system of 



JOHN MAOPHBRSON BERBIBN. 57 

political economy. The analysis of the financial resources and 
obligations of Georgia is a masterly labor. The want of space 
alone forbids more copious extracts. Those introduced will show 
the character of the whole,^-deep, sifting, and logical. Perhaps 
no commission of the kind ever acquitted itself with more credit. 
The subject of Education — the aid of the State in time past, and 
what ought to be done to secure intelligence among the masses — 
is pressed with a truly bold and discriminating statesmanship. 

The estimates of every kind on which to base a judicious system 
of taxation to support internal improvement, to establish public 
schools, and to work out a proud destiny for Georgia through her 
legislation, are furnished in the report. In many strong passages 
the pen of Col. Ghappell is distinctly recognised. The same may 
be said in reference to Judge Holt, who prepared many tables and 
calculations, with the necessary comments, all showing the vigor 
and grasp of his mind. The report is indeed a valuable document, 
which the author presumes is out of print, except a few copies 
accidentally preserved. 

Merely for reference, a further extract is given : — 

The ordinary expenses of the Government for the last year, and the 
average of those expenses since the year 1828, as these appear in the 
report of the Treasurer, have been taken as the data from whence to cal- 
oolate their probable annual amount in future. 

They have been considered as embraced under the following heads : — 
Civil Establishment, Printing, Contingent Fund, Military Disbursements, 
Redemption of Public Debt, Penitentiary, and Presidents' and Speakers' 
warrants. 

These expenses for the year 1838 were as follows : — 

For Civil Establishment J38,928 61 

Printing 19,824 85 

Contingent Fund 15,867 16 

Military Disbursements 4,895 30 

Redemption of Pyiblic Debt 3,372 81 

Penitentiary 15,000 00 

Presidents' and Speakers' Warrants 88,906 80 

Ordinary expenses for 1838 J186,795 53 

The average of the same expenses since 1828 is as follows : — 

For Civil Establishment J38,869 47 

Printing 14,355 79 

Contingent Fund 18,058 31 

Military Disbursements 3,077 63 

Redemption of Public Debt 787 55 

Penitentiary 7,386 00 

Presidents' and Speakers' Warrants 67,751 58 

Average for ten years $148,286 33 



58 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

Od the basis furnished by these two exhibits, and assuming that the 
Legislature will make such reductions as are in its power, we have con- 
sidered that the ordinary annual expenses of the Government may be esti- 
mated at $150,000. 

In about sixteen years from the date of the Commissioners* 
report, the expenses of the Government were thus estimated by 
John B. Trippe, Esq., State Treasurer, in his report to the Legis- 
lature of October 20, 1855 :— 

Estimated Expenses for 1856. 

Payment of Legislature and officers $150,000 00 

Civil Establishment 52,000 00 

Contingent Fund 15,000 00 

Deaf and Dumb 8,000 00 

Academy for Blind 2,500 00 

Provisions for Penitentiary 2,500 00 

Military Fund 1,000 00 

Military Storekeeper 450 00 

Military Institute 2,000 00 

Lunatic Asylum 20,000 00 

Penitentiary Inspector 500 00 

Chaplain Penitentiary 150 00 

Printing Fund 18,000 00 

Interest on Public Debt 160,000 00 

Reduction Public Debt... 30,000 00 

M iscellaneous Appropriations 10,000 00 

Total expenses for 1856 $472,100 00 

The expenses for 1857 are estimated by the Treasurer at 
$284,100 00, there being no session of the Legislature to provide 
for this year, and the Printing Fund being about 010,000 less on 
that account. Since 1838, several items have been added to the 
ordinary expenses of the Government, among which may be men- 
tioned provision for the Deaf and Dumb, Lunatic Asylum, the 
Blind, Military Institute, &c. The estimated expenses for 1856 
and 1857 amount to $756,200 00, in which the following objects 
are included, not to be found on the list in 1838 : — 

BSTIMATB8. 1856. 1857. 

Deaf and Dumb $8,000 00 $8,000 00 

Academy for Blind 2,500 00 2,500 00 

Military Institute 2,000 00 2,000 00 

Lunatic Asylum 20,000 00 20,000 00 

Interest on Public Debt.... 160,000 00 160,000 00 

Reduction Public Debt 30,000 00 16,000 00 



New charges on Treasury $222,500 00 $208,500 00 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 59 

. Deduct these two sums, ?431,000 from $756,200, and there will 
remain $325,200 as the expenses of the Government for two years, 
equal to $162,600 per annum, very little more than the commis- 
sioners stated in 1839 to be necessary. This excess of $12,600 
may be accounted for by the Supreme Court and several judicial 
circuits which have been formed since, increasing the ordinary 
expenses of the Government. It is at least a remarkable coinci- 
dence that the average is so nearly the same. 

The estimated receipts into the Treasury for 1856 are thus 
stated by Mr. Trippe : — 

General Tax for 1856 $400,000 00 

Special Tax on Bank Stock 23,000 00 

" " Railroads 6,500 00 

" " Agencies of Foreign Banks 300 00 

Miscellaneous Resources 1,500 00 

Total estimate for 1856 $431,300 00 

These tables have been drawn into the memoir of Judge Berrien 
merely to bear out the calculations of the Financial Committee of 
which he was chairman in 1839. 

And here the author takes occasion to go back a few years in 
the narrative, so as to notice the part which Judge Berrien acted 
in the Anti-Tariff Convention at Milledgeville, in November, 1832. 
A list of the delegates and a sketch of the proceedings of that 
body are given elsewhere in this volume.* It may be truly said 
that it was a collection of talented men, — such as Forsyth, Gilmer, 
W. Gumming, J. P. King, Torrance, S. Rockwell, Clayton, Dawson, 
T. Haynes, T. Spalding, W. H. Underwood, H. Warner, H. Holt, 
S.W. Flournoy, J.C.Alford, A.Cuthbert, R.L. Gamble, J.G.Park, 
D. A. Reese, T. W. Harris, R. A. Beall, Wiley Williams, and the 
"Old Constitution," Gen. David Blackshear, and others more or 
less known to the public. 

Mr. Berrien appeared as a delegate from Monroe county. His 
was the second name on the Committee of Twenty-one, General 
Blackshear being the chairman. On the second day, Mr. Forsyth 
offered a preliminary resolution on which sprung up unexpectedly 
a long and brilliant discussion. Mr. Berrien came prepared to 
examine the Tariff, and the power of the Federal Government to 
discriminate for protection, and on that question he was a match 
for any man. But Mr. Forsyth led off in another direction, 



* Memoir of B. A. Beall. 



60 BBKCH AND BAR OF GEOBQIA. 

requiring the delegates to show their authority, in rigid form, t<^ 
speak in the name of the people, and, if they refused, he would not 
participate in their deliberations. On the fourth day a vote was- 
taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. Berrien, which was 
in effect the rejection of Mr. Forsyth's resolution, — Yeas, 68; 
Nays, 56. 

When the result was announced by the presiding oflScer, Mr. 
Forsyth arose and made a few remarks explanatory of his course ; 
then placed on the clerk's table a paper signed by himself and 
about fifty other delegates who retired with him from the hall, 
protesting against the action of the majority. To give the particu- 
lars of this scene and of the debates of the Convention would be 
only to repeat what may be seen under another head. 

The remaining delegates proceeded with their business as though 
nothing had happened. But the star of the Convention, on which 
all eyes turned with rapture, had disappeared in Mr. Forsyth. 
The greater part of those who heard him on that occasion, inclu- 
ding delegates and the large throng of spectators, declared that 
they had never listened to genuine eloquence before. He soared 
above all competition. Fresh from the Senate of the United 
States, he wore his laurels, gathered in that arena by contests with 
Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, with the air of a victor. He was, 
indeed, perfection as an orator. In skirmishing, he was admitted 
to have no rival in the Union, if in the world. Afterwards, his 
ability was tested and his fame greatly increased by his leadership 
in the defence of President Jackson when he was assailed in the 
Senate for the removal of the public deposits from the United 
States Bank in 1833. Yet the void in the Convention soon closed 
up, and the measures for which it assembled were discussed freely, 
the speakers often differing in their views, though in the main 
harmonious. 

At the request of the chairman, the Report of the Committee of 
Twenty-one was prepared by Mr. Berrien, who read it to the Con- 
vention. The author was in the gallery at the time, and well 
remembers the delight it afforded to all present, as much by the 
manner of the reading as the merits of the paper itself. 

For the purposes of history, and as containing the constitu- 
tional argument, several of the resolutions are here inserted from 
the report : — 

7. That the act laying duties on imports, passed in July, 1832, as well 
as the several acts of which that act is emendatory, in so far as it tran- 
scends the purposes of revenue, and is intended to operate, and does 



k 



JOHN MACPHEBSON BERRIBN. 61 

Operate, substaDtivelj for the protection of manufactures, is an exercise 
of powers not granted bj the Constitution, but a plain and palpable viola- 
tion of the true intent, meaning, and spirit thereof; that the said acts 
cannot be justified under the power of regulating commerce with foreign 
nations, since to regulate is not to destroy ; and the principle of a 
substantive protection to domestic manufactures assumes, and in some 
instances exerts, the power of imposing a duty which effectually prohibits 
the importation of foreign fabrics of like kind with those which are thus 
protected, and to this extent destroys foreign commerce instead of regu- 
lating it. That they cannot be supported under the power to levy and 
collect duties, since this power was given solely for the purpose of en- 
abling the Government to raise a revenue which should be adequate to its 
wants ; and the amount of revenue which is raised by these protective 
duties very far exceeds the legitimate wants of the Government ; and that 
the attempt to vindicate the exercise of a power to impose a burden on the 
labor and industry of one portion of the people of the United States for 
the benefit of another portion of the same people, under the power to pro- 
vide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, is 
even more alarming than the direct results of the system itself, because 
that is to ascribe to Congress the power to do whatever in their judgment 
may conduce to the common defence and general welfare, and thus to 
invest the National Legislature with unlimited (because merely discretion- 
ary) power over the rights and liberties of the people of Georgia. 

8. That the people of Georgia are sincerely attached to the Federal 
Constitution, and to the Union of the States which it creates and guaran- 
tees ; that they consider it as a precious inheritance received from their 
&thers which it is the duty of patriotism to maintain and defend, and esti- 
mate it above all price, save that of liberty ; that they are ready to peril 
their fortunes and their lives in its defence, and would deeply deplore 
its dissolution, as an event alike inauspicious to themselves and to the cause 
of civil liberty throughout the world. That, actuated by these feelings, and 
even amid the difficulties which beset them, not despairing of the Repub- 
lic, they will still persevere in the use of every proper and efficient means 
for the peaceful adjustment of this unhappy controversy which may be 
within their power as one of the sovereign members of this Confederacy, or 
which may result from consultation and conference with their sister States 
haying a common interest with them in this matter. That, taking the 
payment of the national debt as the period after which the present tariff 
of duties, so far as it transcends the purposes of revenue and is designed 
for the protection of domestic manufactures, can find no plausible pretext 
in our constitutional charter, they are willing to wait until Congress shall 
have full time deliberately to determine whether they will reduce and 
equalize the duties on foreign imports, so as to bring the income of the 
Qovernment within the limits of revenue, and to collect the contributions 
of our citizens on the principles of just taxation. That, having regard to 
the interests of those whose capital has been invested in manufactures 
during the progress of that course of legislation of which they complain, 
they are willing that the reduction and equalization of duties which they 
ask should be prospective and gradual, and, fearfully admonished as they 
have been by experience of the fallacy of their past hopes for relief from 
the evils under which they suffer, they will still look to the justice and 
patriotism of their brethren of the manufacturing States. 

9. That the people of Georgia cannot submit to the permanent protec- 



62 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

tion of domestic manufactarcs by duties imposed for that purpose on the 
importation of foreign manufactures, and especially on such as are among 
the necessaries of life; that they cannot submit to the adoption of the 
principle on which such duties are imposed, as a permanent principle of 
Federal policy, but will feel bound to resist the same by the exercise of 
all their rights as one of 4he sovereign members of this Confederacy, and 
by consultation and concert with their sister States having like interest 
with themselves, and disposed to unite with them in resistance to this 
principle. 

10. That it be respectfully recommended to the several Southern 
States having a common interest with us in the removal of the grievances 
under which we labor from the protective system, to assemble in Conven- 
tion by delegates from the respective States, corresponding to the number 
of their Senators and Representatives in Congress, to confer together on 
the subject of their grievances, and to recommend to the people of their 
respective States such measures as may best conduce to the removal of 
the same ; and that the time and place of such meeting be determined by 
correspondence between the delegates elected to said Convention. 

This report was adopted by a vote of 64 yeas, 6 nays. The 
latter were Messrs. Clifton, Floumoy, Guerry, Holt, Lewis, of 
Burke, and Peabody. 

On motion of Mr. Berrien, it was 

Resolved, That a committee be appointed, to consist of five persons, 
whose duty it shall be to prepare an address to the people of Georgia, 
illustrating the objects and proceedings of this Convention, which shall be 
attached to the journal of the said proceedings. Whereupon the presi- 
dent appointed Messrs. Berrien, Clayton, Gordon, of Putnam, Beall, of 
Bibb, and Torrance, that committee. 

The address came forth under the signatures of the Committee, 
dated November 21, 1832, from which an extract is given, pointing 
out the inequality of the protective system : — 

By the provisions of the Tariff Act of 1832, a principle of taxation is 
affirmed which imposes burdens on articles of necessary consumption, 
while those of luxury, and those materials used in manufacturing, such as 
dye-stuffs, &c., are, with a few unimportant exceptions, declared to be free 
of duty. The effect of this unwarrantable discrimination is to exempt 
UNPROTECTED articles entirely from taxation, and to throw all the burden 
upon the protected articles, such as iron, salt, sugar, woollen and cotton 
fabrics, &c. These arc articles of necessary consumption at the South, 
the duties upon which in many instances amount to an entire prohibition. 

The spirit which characterized the majority in Congress in the adoption 
of this odious act cannot, perhaps, be better illustrated than in the rejection 
by the majority in the Senate of all propositions tending to the reduction 
of the duties to the wants of the Government, or limiting those imposed 
to a certain definite amount. A distinguished Senator from the South, 
daring the discussion of the act of 1832 in the Senate, submitted to that 
body jfour distinct propositions. The first was an amendment to Mr. Clay*M 
molution, by which amendment it was proposed '<to bring down the 
Aitiet gradually to the revenue standard, adjusting them on the protected 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 63 

and unprotected articles, on principles of perfect equality." This propo- 
sition, fair and honorable in its terms, in every respect reasonable in its 
operation, was treated by the majority '^as a scheme to destroy the manu- 
facturers, and as pledging Congress to an ultimate abandonment of the 
protecting system, which it was declared had become the settled policy of 
the country." Immediate reduction was termed "sudden destruction to 
the manufacturers;" gradual reduction was called "slow poison." The 
proposition was rejected. 

To the clause in the bill imposing a duty of 16 cents a yard upon 
flannels, the same distinguished Senator proposed to add a proviso " that 
the duty should in no case exceed fifty per cent." The duty of 16 
cents a yard on coarse flannels used by the poor would be equal to 160 
per cent., while on the finest of that article it would amount to only 32 
per cent. Yet this proviso was rejected. The reason alleged for this 
rejection was that 50 per cent, would not be an adequate protection to the 
domestic manufacturer of flannels. Another proposition was made : — " to 
strike out the minimums on cottons." This also was rejected ; and this 
"fraudulent device" was retained in the acts by which an article costing 
5 cents is to be deemed to have cost 30 cents, and to pay a duty as having 
actually cost 30 cents. This was done, too, in the face of a distinct admis- 
sion of the friends of the manufacturers of coarse cottons that they did not 
at present require protection. But the majority, in the plenitude of their 
power, thought it would be wise to "keep the fences up by which foreign 
competition would be excluded." The fourth and last proposition made 
by the Southern Senator was that a clause should be added to the end of 
the act, declaring " that the duties imposed by it should in no 
CASE exceed one HUNDRED PER CENT.;" yet this proposition shared the 
same fate of all the previous ones : it was rejected. Yes, a majority 
in the Senate, secure of their power, calculating on the deceptive features 
of the act, and relying upon a want of unanimity among the Southern 
people, for the final triumph of the protective system, rejected a proviso 
which would have limited the maximum of duties to 100 per cent. 
People of Georgia ! the rejection of these propositions speaks a language 
not to be mistaken, the direct tendency of which is to enslave you, — to 
render you tributary to the North. This conduct of the majority evinces 
but too clearly a determination to maintain the protective principle invio- 
late, regardless of the cost and reckless of the consequences. 

It will be seen from the spirit of the Convention that the 
very scale of reduction established by the compromise in a few 
months afterwards was suggested by the Committee, if not in 
express terms, at least in principle. The South Carolina Ordi- 
nance of Nullification was passed on the 24th day of November, 
1832, among the signers of which was Chancellor Harper, who, 
with his Union colleague, Hon. David Johnson, but a few days 
before occupied a seat by special invitation in the Convention at 
Milledgeville. These scraps of the day are collected hero as part 
of an exciting movement in which were enlisted the great minds of 
the age. 

The Legislature of Georgia, in 1840, elected Judge Berrien a 



64 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOBGIA. 

Senator in Congress for a term of six years from 4th March, 1841, 
at which time he took his seat, to advise on the nominations bj 
President Harrison of his Cabinet and other oflBcers of the Govern- 
ment. He took an active part in the leading measures of the 
extra session of Congress of that year, supporting the policy of 
the Whigs with that high order of abilities which had been so long 
accorded to him by the public voice. It is not intended here to 
follow up his votes, or even to refer to all the discussions in which he 
participated. He was uniformly heard with pleasure, and his opinions 
commanded the respect of all parties. After the passage of the 
bankrupt law, there was a very strong feeling of dissatisfaction evinced 
by the public, and a bill was introduced for its repeal. On the 
26th of January, 1842, Mr. Berrien made a speech of great power, 
maintaining the constitutionality and expediency of the law. He 
analyzed the relations of debtor and creditor, and the bankrupt 
systems of other countries, showing them to be necessary to the 
interests of commerce, as well as just to individuals. In com- 
paring the bankrupt feature with State insolvent regulations, he 
thus expressed himself: — 

Look now at the condition of the bankrupt and insolvent, when the 
respective processes against them are closed, and say which is likely to 
prove the better and more upright citizen. The bankrupt has surrendered 
his all : he is poor, — nay, destitute, penniless ; but he ts free. Ay, there 
is the charm. He is really, truly free. It is not merely the poor privi- 
lege of locomotion which is accorded to him. His hands are unshackled. 
The energies of his mind are unfettered. He is free to exert them for 
the benctit of those whom nature and affection have endeared to him. 
His recovered freedom is his stimulus. The lesson of experience, which 
adversity has taught him, is his safeguard. The almost utter impractica- 
bility of receiving a second time the boon which has been once accorded 
to him is his voice of warning. Thus stimulated, thus guarded, thus 
warned, he enters upon his new career. If in this world of trial, which 
we have divested of its original beauty and loveliness, any man may be 
delivered from temptation, or enabled to resist it, by merely human means, 
this man is secure. The path of duty, of uprightness, of honesty, whidli 
it is the best interest of all to pursue, is that from which he is without 
any conceivable motive to wander. 

And the insolvent, Mr. President, — what is his condition ? He too has 
surrendered his all, — at least, all which he dare openly claim : and for what? 
To purchase exemption from imprisonment, or the privilege of departing 
beyond prison-bounds. He breathes the free air of heaven, but not as a 
free man. He is still the "doomed slave" of his creditor. The fruits of 
his labor belong to that creditor, and can only be withheld from him by 
fraud. The necessities of a helpless family appeal to him. The eagle 
eye of his creditor is upon him. He looks upon that creditor as his 
enemy. If he be merciless, he is indeed his enemy, — the enemy of those 
who are dearer to him than life, whom he is bound to protect even at the 
sacrifice of life itself. What then? As an enemy, he fences himself 




JOHN MACPHERSOX BERRIEN. 65 

against that creditor. He resorts to fraadalent coDveyances, to secret 
trusts, to a regalar system of habitual deception, and his children, into 
whose young minds it would have been, under more propitious circum- 
stances, hb grateful task to have instilled the lessons of virtue, are trained 
up under the blighting influence of that system of concealment to which 
they are indebted for the comforts and conveniences of life. Such is the 
actual condition of multitudes, under the operation of the State insolvent 
law. 

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to whom were referred 
the Senate and House bills to repeal the bankrupt law, and nume- 
rous petitions, and sundry legislative resolutions, and other papers, 
relating to the subject Mr. Berrien made a report to the Senate, 
February 3, 1843, embodying the opinions and statements of 
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the District 
Courts of the United States, and other oflBcers of those courts, 
touching the practical operation of the bankrupt law, its benefits 
and evils. The report'*' consists of about thirty pages, from which 
the following is an extract : — 

The bankrupt law has now presented its worst aspect. It has passed 
the fiery ordeal of public opinion, exhibiting all its faults in the emptiness 
of the inventions which have been returned to the scrutinizing gaze of 
the public. Hitherto its operation has been chiefly at the expense of the 
creditor, if indeed the securities which he held were not already valueless 
at the date of the act. Let us not forget that this is owing to our own 
long-continued neglect to fulfil our constitutional duty by the establish- 
ment of a uniform system of bankruptcy. If sufifered to remain on the 
statute-book, a new era will commence. The mass of insolvencies which 
had been accumulating for years, affording, under the operation of the 
bankrupt law, little or no return of assets for distribution, has now been 
disposed of, either by the direct operations of the law or by compromises 
which it has induced. Hereafter it will afford to the creditor the means 
of preventing the recurrence of this state of things, will enable him to 
stay the downward progress of his failing debtor before the desperate 
plunges to which a man in such circumstances is too strongly tempted 
shall have involved him in hopeless ruin, and will insure to the creditor 
a fund for distribution far greater than can be obtained under the opera- 
tion of State insolvent laws. The fa'ct will be manifested by considering 
the different results which are produced by the bankrupt law in England, 
and by the insolvent systems of the different States which have prevailed 
among us. 

With these facts in view, the committee believe it to be their duty to 
recommend to the Senate the adoption of a bankrupt law, adapted to the 
commercial exigencies of the community, and calculated to form a part 
of the permanent jurisprudence of the country. 

The salutary influence of such a law will be manifested, — 

1st. By the prevention of undue credit^ since, under its operation, 
the debtor may be forced into bankruptcy, by which he must surrender 



* See Senate Doc. No. 121, 27th Congress, 8d Session. 
Vol. I. — 5 




66 BENCH AND BAR OF OBOBOIA. 

all that he possesses, and even then be dependent on the assent of a 
majority of his creditors for the allowance of his discharge, with the pre- 
monition that such discharge will ever after preclude him from receiving 
similar relief, unless, in the event of his insolvency, his estate is able to 
pay seventy-five per cent. 

2d. By preventing partial assignments, by which a few preferred 
creditors, often selected from among those who mainly contributed to 
enable the failing debtor to hold out a false credit to the community, 
are allowed to appropriate his estate exclusively to themselves. 

3d. By substituting one uniform rule — the great and equitable rule 
that equality is equity — to the conflict bankrupt and insolvent laws of 
the several States, and thus insuring a fair and equal dividend of the 
estate of a failing debtor among all his creditors. 

4th. By arming the creditor with a power to force a fEiiling debtor to 
go into liquidation before his assets are wasted by the desperate specula- 
tions to which men in such circumstances are generally tempted. 

The report shows the number and classification of petitioners to 
Congress relative to the bankrupt law. At the session in 1842 
the number is thus stated : — 

Asking /or a repeal of the bankrupt act 2,133 

Against repeal 42,169 

Asking for a modification 1,206 

For a modification or repeal 4,343 

For a postponement 447 

Resolutions passed the Legislatures of the States of Connecti- 
cut, Maine, and Mississippi, for a repeal. 

During the session in 1843 the account stood thus : — 

For immediate repeal 3,107 

Opposed to the repeal 6,495 

The States of Vermont and Ohio passed resolutions in favor of 
the repeal. 

It is only an act of justice to both the distinguished orators to 
remark here that, immediately after Mr. Berrien had finished his 
speech in support of the bankrupt law, Mr. Clay advanced to him 
in the Senate and shook him cordially by the hand, thanking him 
for his eloquent and touching appeal in behalf of a large class of 
unfortunate yet worthy fellow-citizens, who had fallen by the 
casualties of trade. It was a noble tribute from a noble source, 
and should endear the memories of Clay and Berrien to all who 
revere public benefactors. 

For his course on the bankrupt bill, and for his support of the 
nomination of Mr. Everett as Minister to England, of a national 
bank, the Land Distribution bill, and other Whig measures of the 
extra session of Congress in 1841, Mr. Berrien incurred the dis- 
approbation of the Legislature of Georgia, which body, at the 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 67 

session of 1841, passed resolutions of censure. The majority 
happened to be Democrats, who took that occasion to embarrass 
lilm and to promulgate their policy. He was at the same time 
instructed to reverse his votes on all those questions. The year 
following, the. same majority again resolved that Mr. Berrien was 
not representing the sentiments of the people of Georgia, and 
accordingly withdrew their confidence, refusing to have any com- 
munication with him. He was not officially notified of this latter 
action until after the adjournment of the Legislature, and was 
therefore deprived of the opportunity of vindicating his conduct. 
He published an address to the people of Georgia, in which he 
reviewed the measures of Congress, the state of parties, and the 
doctrine of legislative instructions, the latter of which, as applied 
to him, he pronounced a usurpation. 

At the State election in 1843 (the first of biennial sessions) 
the Whigs obtained an ascendency in the Legislature, and de- 
clared by resolutions, in the warmest terms, that Mr. Berrien was 
a faithful Senator, alike distinguished for ability and patriotism, 
and that the people of Georgia felt a just pride in his character 
and public services. This is the substance, and it was alike gratify- 
ing and proper to Mr. Berrien, who continued to discharge his 
public duties in the Senate. 

The address of Mr. Berrien to the people of Georgia called 
forth a letter from Judge Story, in which he said, "Your argu- 
ment upon what is called ' the right of instruction* is exceedingly 
cogent, and, I think, unanswerable. If ever my work on the Con- 
stitution shall reach another edition, I intend to extract the pas- 
sage and use it in that work. I have laid aside the newspaper for 
this purpose among my choice collections." 

In 1844 Mr. Berrien was a delegate from Georgia in the Con- 
vention at Baltimore which nominated Mr. Clay for the Presi- 
dency. He was appointed chairman of the committee to commu- 
nicate the action of that body to Mr. Clay, which he did as 
follows: — 

Baltimobx, May 1, 1844. 

Sir : — The grateful office of announciog to you the result of the de- 
liberations of the National Whig Convention, tnis day assembled at this 
place for the selection of a candidate for the office of President of the 
United States at the approaching election, has been by that Convention 
assigned to us. 

We perform it by communicating to you the accompanying copy of a 
resolution adopted unanimously and by acclamation by that body, and beg 
to add to it the expression of our earnest hope that the wish of your as- 
sembled fellow-citizens, in which '' all with one voice" have united, and 




68 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROIA. 

ia whicb their personal feelings^ and, as they believe, the best interests 
of this great people, are inyolved^ may meet your prompt and cheerful 
acauiescence. 

We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your fellow-oitizens, 

John Macprerson Berrien, 
J. Burnet, 
Erastus Root, 
Abbott Lawrence, 
Hon. Henrt Clay. William S. Archer. 

Washinqtok, May 2, 1844. 

Gentlemen : — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter, dated yesterday at Baltimore, communicating my nomination, by 
the National Whig Convention there assembled, to the people of the 
United States as a candidate for the office of President of the United 
States. Confidently believing that this nomination is in conformity with 
the desire of a majority of the people of the United States, I accept it 
from a high sense of duty, and with feelings of profound gratitude. I re- 
Quest you, gentlemen, in announcing to the Convention my acceptance of 
the nomination, to express the very great satisfaction I derive from the 
unanimity with which it has been made. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, faithfully your firiend 
and fellow-citizen, H. Clat. 

Messrs. John Macpherson Berrien, Erastus Root, J. Burnet, Abbott 
Lawrence, and William S. Archer. 

After his re-election to the Senate in 1840, and becoming more 
fully identified with the policy of the Whigs, Mr. Berrien so far 
modified his opinions on the Tariff as to give incidental protection 
to home manufactures. He was present at a mass meeting of the 
Whigs of Massachusetts, on Boston Common, in September, 1844, 
and, by special invitation, addressed the people at Marlborough 
Chapel, Boston, on the night of 19th September, being introduced 
to the crowded assemblage by the Hon. Daniel Webster. A por- 
tion of his speech is here given. After disposing of other topics, 
Mr. Berrien said : — 

I repeat it, fellow-citizens, the great question between us and our o|^m>- 
nents on this subject is, — 

Shall we cherish the industry of our own people, or of those who are 
alien from our country, our institutions, our interests, and our afiecdottft? 

Shall we stimulate the productive energies of our countrymen, or 
them to languish in hopeless inactivity ? 

Shall we secure to the laboring classes among us a fair reward for 
honest industry, — the means of obtaining a comfortable subeiflteBce for 
themselves and their families, wherewith to rear and educate their chil- 
dren and to fit them for the discharge of their duties as Ajnencan citi^ 
zcns ? Shall we thus impart to that valuable portion of our people die 
high sense of personal independence which will add to our 
strength, or, blindly nodecting their interests and our own, shall _ 
Ihem to sink down to the condition of the pauper-laborers of Europe? 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 69 

Shall this government be administered for the benefit of our own people, 
or the subjects of a foreign land ? 

Are we willing to come back to the system of colonial vassalage, with 
the broken fetters of which our fathers battled for freedom, or are we 
honestly proud of our independence and resolutely determined to main- 
tain and transmit it to our children ? 

Disguise it as we may, to these issues it must come at last. We may 
be lulled into security. Yielding to party feelings, we may blindly fol- 
low in the steps of party leaders, and sacrifice our own best interests at 
their dictation. But I overrate the intelligence of my countrymen if 
they can be thus deluded. I mistake their character if they will not 
spurn the demagogue who would seek thus to mislead them. No, fellow- 
citizens ! Realizing the magnitude of the interests which are involved 
in this controversy, remembering that "the price of liberty is eternal 
vigilance,'' you will bring to its decision the intelligence and manly firm- 
ness which should characterize American freemen. Forgive the momen- 
tary egotism : I am a Southern man, wholly unconnected with manufac- 
tures or with stocks of any description, — a Southern planter, depending 
on the cultivation of the soil and the use of such faculties as God has 
given me for my own and the support of a numerous family. If it be 
true (as our opponents contend) that, in protecting our domestic industry, 
the agricultural and other classes of the community are taxed for the ex- 
clusive benefit of the manufacturer, mine is the harder lot. When the 
pocket-nerve of the agriculturist is touched, mine is as liable to vibra- 
tion as that of another. On such a subject I could not deceive you if I 
would : that I would not if I could, let the simple statement prove to you. 

No, fellow-citizens ! I advocate the protection of domestic industry 
from no merely selfish considerations. Looking to this great question in 
the large and comprehensive view in which, as it seems to me, it becomes 
an American statesman to contemplate it, I advocate this system of legis- 
lation to furnish a home market, to give stability to the currency, to ele- 
vate the national character, to preserve the public morals, and to draw 
closer the bond of union which connects us together as one people. Let 
us pause for a moment to consider these suggestions. 

The protection of domestic industry tends largely to increase the sum 
of national wealth. 

1. It does this by a division of labor. All experience teaches us that 
the aggregate product of the labor of any country is increased by such 
subdivisions. A nation of agriculturists, each of whom should minister 
to his own wants, should feed and clothe himself and make his own 
implements of labor, would advance slowly, however genial the climate and 
fruitful the soil which Providence has assigned to them. It is by diver- 
sifying the objects of individual pursuit by the skill which is requisite to 
fumisn the necessary exchanges that the aggregate production is increased. 

2. It stimulates industry. The necessity of providing for one's own 
wants by promptly supplying the wants of others, the increased skill which 
is acquired, and the consequent ability to add to individual comfort by its 
industrious exercise, furnish a stimulus to exertion which cannot be found 
in the infancy of society, when each man endeavors to supply his own 
wants by the clumsy operations of his own inexperienced hand. 

It adds largely to the national wealth by the additional value which it 
imparts to the raw material. We shall look in vain through the pages 
of history for an example of great national productive labor, which was 



70 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

employed io produciog raw materials, depending upon other nations for 
the exercise of the skill and industry which were necessarr to befit them 
for the use and enjoyment of man. We may form some idea of the im- 
portance of this consideration from the following facts : — 

A bale of cotton of ordinary quality, weighing 450 lbs., is worth, at 7) 
cents per lb., the sum of 834. If sold in a foreign market, it would add 
this sum, less the expenses of transportation and charges of sale, to the 
sum of national wealth. 

The same bale of cotton manufactured here will produce 400 lbs. of 
cloth of No. 14 yarn, of which the present market-value would be 24 
cents per lb., — $96. In this case the value of the manufactured article 
is nearly threefold. The sum of $62 would thus be added to the national 
wealth. 480 lbs. of cotton of fine quality, worth, at 8} cents per lb., the 
sum of $48, would produce 400 lbs. of cloth of No. 30 yarn, worth 36 
cents per lb., or $156. 450 lbs. of sea-island cotton, worth, at 16 cents 
cents per lb., $72, will make 400 lbs. of No. 80 yarn, worth $1 32 per lb., 
or $518. The aggregate value of these three bales of cotton in their raw 
state is $142, — in their manufactured state $759. The increased value 
imparted to them by the skill and industry of the manufacturer is there- 
fore $626. 

Extend this calculation to the aggregate value of the 400,000 bales of 
cotton and other raw materials manufactured in this country ; compute 
that value in their raw and in their manufactured state, and some idea 
may be formed of the sum which is added to the national wealth by the 
skill, enterprise, and industry of the American manufacturer. 

The protection of domestic industry results in the establishment of a 
home market. 

To the extent to which such a demand can be created, it furnishes a 
better market even for those articles of produce which are chiefly sold 
abroad, as any man may satisfy himself who will calculate the product of 
100 bales of cotton sold here and in the English market at current prices, 
and invested in English and American manufactures of equal quality. 
The details are too tedious for an occasion like the present ; and they are 
already before the reading public in the very able argument of Hon. Mr. 
Simmons, of Rhode Island, pronounced a few months since in the Senate 
of the United States. 

But the importance of a home market is more distinctly felt by the 
agriculturist, whose products will not bear the expense or delay of trans- 
portation abroad. It stimulates production by the demand which it 
creates, and which could not exist without it. Those who reside in the 
neighborhood of the villages, towns, and cities^ which are scattered 
through our country, find there a demand for various agricultural produce 
which would otherwise be comparatively valueless, and would not there- 
fore be produced. Extend your view to the manufacturing establish- 
ments in the different States. Their operations require various products 
of the soil. The operatives who labor in them must be fed; and the 
demand thus occasioned gives an impulse to the agriculture of contiguous 
districts, necessarily increases production, and thus adds to the wealth of 
the agriculturist. 

The protection of domestic industry gives stability to the currency. 

The specie which is in circulation among us is not adequate to oar 
commercial wants. We require a currency based upon specie, and easily 
convertible into it; extended in amount as it can be^ retaining that qumlitj. 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERBIEK. 71 

So long as we continue to depend on foreign supply for a large proportion 
of articles of comfort or necessity, the fluctuations of commerce will sub- 
ject us in a greater degree to the drain of our specie, and the consequent 
contraction of our circulation, — thus affecting injuriously various classes 
of the community. It is only by enlarging our home supply of the chief 
articles of consumption which we are capable of producing, and keeping 
our imports within our exports, or our expenditures within our income, 
that we can prevent the frequent recurrence of these embarrassments. 

With regard to the Government, the public credit, and other 
beneficial conseauences of the Tariff of 1842, Mr. Berrien thus 
spoke : — 

Fellow-citizens I We have looked at this question in various aspects. 
There is yet another which is full of interest. It is the practical result of 
the Tariff of 1842 in its operation both upon the Government and the 
people during the short period of its existence. For a moment consider 
what was the condition of the Government before this law was passed. 
Mr. Van Buren, during his brief Presidential career, had exhausted both 
the ordinary and extraordinary resources of the Government, and, looking 
to the election which was to determine his right to a second term, feared 
to recommend the imposition of duties, or any other mode of taxation 
which would replenish the national treasury. Treasury notes constituted 
its only resource. A Government representing seventeen millions of free- 
men, and possessed of abundant means, nevertheless paid its debts and 
met its current expenditures, so far as they were paid and met, hi/ pro- 
mtses to pay! He retired from the Executive office and his Cabinet was 
disbanded, leaving to their successors a largo amount of those treasury 
promises to redeem, and a much larger amount of unliquidated liabilities 
to provide for. They found the Government not only without resources, 
but also without credit. Shortly after the accession of the Whig party to 
power, a bill drawn upon the Treasury, and protested for non-payment, 
was exhibited in the Senate-Chamber. We sought to provide for the 
immediate wants of Government by a loan. It was partially accomplished 
on terms which were not creditable to us as a nation possessed of ample 
resources, but the acceptance of which was demanded by a regard to the 
public faith. For the rest, we fiiiled entirely. An agent sent to Europe 
to procure the residue of the sum required returned without a dollar. 
We could not go into the money-market and borrow money on terms as 
advantageous as would be accorded to a responsible private individual. Our 
treasury notes were below par, and progressively depreciating. Now, why 
was this ? No one doubted the ability of the Government to meet their 
engagements. It was their willingness to do so which the conduct of the 
late administration had drawn into question. See the proof. The Tariff 
Act of 1842 was passed, and instantly, even before its practical influence 
could be felt, in the extent in which it is now felt, the whole aspect of 
affiiirs was changed. The credit of the Government was restored. Trea- 
sury notes rose to par, and the stock of the United States has progres- 
sively advanced until it is now fifteen or sixteen per cent, above par. The 
Treasury has been replenished, so that at the close of the late financial 
year, on the 80th of June last, there were about seven millions of dollars 
subject to the order of the Government, to be applied to the redemption 
of the public debt, and to meet its current expenses. 




72 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBGIA. 

Such has been the operation of the Tariff on the financial condition of 
the Government. What has been its influence on the condition of indi- 
viduals let each one who hears me determine for himself by a comparison 
of his circumstances in 1841 and at the present day. Meantime, it is 
obvious to all that a new stimulus has been imparted to industry ; that 
confidence between man and man has been restored ; that all enjoy more 
largely the comforts and conveniences of life, and that we can look for- 
ward hopefully to the future unless we are faithless to ourselves and utterly 
unmindful of the lessons of experience. 

Fellow-citizens ! We cannot part with a system thus beneficent in its 
influence upon the Government and upon every class of the people, in all 
their varied interests, — pecuniary, social, and moral, — unless, as our oppo- 
nents tell us, we have not the constitutional power to enforce it. I do 
not propose to detain you by an elaborate discussion of this question. 
The power was affirmed in the Senate-Chamber by one of your own dis- 
tinguished Senators, (Mr. Choate,) in an argument which challenges refu- 
tation ; while the historical view of the question has been recently pre- 
sented by another distinguished son of Massachusetts, who has so happily 
presided over our deliberations to-day, (Mr. Webster,) in a manner so 
clear and comprehensive as can scarcely fail to bring conviction to every 
unprejudiced mind, — to every man who can absolve himself from a slavish 
subjection to party. Those noble efforts of intellect and patriotism are in 
possession of the reading public, and to them I refer you. 

This somewhat copious extract is given in justice to the public 
life of Mr. Berrien. No allusion has heretofore been made in this 
memoir to the leading part he acted in the Convention held at 
Philadelphia, in September, 1831, adverse to a protective tariff. 
The address to the people of the United States on that occasion 
was from his classic pen. The constitutionality of a tariff for pro- 
tection was denied, and its other objectionable features pointed out 
by the hand of a master. That address is not now in the posses- 
sion of the author, to speak for itself. But it is no disparagement 
to change opinions when convinced of error ; on the contrary, a 
man is entitled to praise for his candor. Mr. Calhoun publicly 
avowed that he did not consider his judgment on public measures 
so fixed, so grounded on investigation, as to bind him, until the 
leisure afforded by his Vice-Presidential career from 1825 to 1832 
enabled him to review his opinions and work out the true character 
of the Government. The like privilege may be accorded to Mr. 
Berrien, who, in his ten years of retirement from the time he 
resigned his seat in the Cabinet in 1831 until his return to the 
Senate of the United States in 1841, had the opportunity of look- 
ing into the questions of the day with a mind free from sectional 
bias. The pith of the argument is contained in his Boston speech 
on the expediency of the Tariff. 

From some cause, Mr. Berrien felt dissatisfied with the treat- 



JOHN HACPHERSON BERRISK. 73 

ment he had received from the Whig party of Georgia ; and early 
in the session of the Legislature in 1845 he resigned his seat in 
the Senate. The Whig members consulted together and instantly 
re-elected him. A committee notified him of the fact. He met 
his political friends, and made a speech of considerable length, in 
which he touched upon various topics in vindication of himself and 
of the party with which he was identified. He answered all the 
objections, or pretences of objection, which had been made to his 
public course. That portion of his speech which related to the 
annexation of Texas is here copied to serve the ends of history : — 

I voted against the resolution by which it was proposed to incorporate 
the State of Texas in this Union. In doing so, I expressed the almost 
unanimous conviction of those who had confided to me the trust which I 
?ras called upon to execute. In my own deliberate judgment, that resolu- 
tion was an open, palpable violation of the Constitution which I had sworn 
to support I placed my vote on the ground of fealty to that sacred 
charter, and I said to the American Senate, '' On such a question, the 
duties and responsibilities of each individual must give the rule of his 
conduct. It is to be found in communion with God and his own con- 
science." I abandoned the question of expedienct/ to those who felt 
themselves at liberty to discuss it. I did not consider that this was my 
privilege. I said, *'It is not expedient for me to do what, in mj judg- 
ment, the Constitution forbids." I referred to the expression, at a pre- 
* ceding session, of my views in relation to the expediency of this measure; 
but I added that I would cheerfully yield them to the wishes of my con- 
stituents, which I would have taken care to ascertain if the resolution on 
which we were acting had been compatible with the Constitution. And 
I added, '< Georgia, sir, is my home, as it was that of him from whom I 
derived my being, — as it is, and will be, the home of my children. 
Humanly speaking, it is the boundary of my hopes and of my wishes ; 
and, whether for weal or for woe, I am content to share the lot of her 
people. As a Senator of the State of Georgia, therefore, on a question of 
expediency, the wishes of her people are my wishes ; when made known 
to me they are the rule of my conduct." 

Here is the published declaration of my views and opinions, — the 
recorded evidence of my conduct on this momentous and agitating ques- 
tion. I know that they met the approbation of my political associates at 
home from the many and cheering evidences of approval which were 
transmitted to me; while even among my opponents there were those 
who looked with dismav on the inroad which had thus been made on the 
Constitution of the Union. 

Whence, then, this denunciation, which an act of treason to the Con- 
stitution could alone have averted ? Let me tell vou, gentlemen, it is not 
the condemnation of the past, but the apprehension of the future, which 
prompts it. Honest men, though they may be political opponents, would 
not require from me the commission of perjury, even for the acquisition 
of Texas. That act is not, therefore, the motive to this denunciation : it 
was the fear of the future which prompted it. The consummation of the 
union of Texas with this Confederate Republic remains with the American 
Congress ; and the apprehension is that this consummation may be resisted 



74 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

under a continued sense of constitutional obIi<ratioQ. On this point, so 
far as I am concerned, our opponents may dismiss their fears. They have 
a security which, under a change of circumstances, they could not give to 
us, alike resulting from my sense of the constitutional power and duty of 
an American Senator. The opinion which I am now about to state has 
been heretofore expressed on the floor of the Senate on another occasion 
in combating the doctrine then advanced by a member of that body. It 
is still my opinion, and must therefore guide my conduct if called to act 
upon this question. 

In all open questions, where no previous legislation embarrasses his 
action, a member of Congress is not only permitted, but bound, to decide 
for himself how far the proposed measure conforms to or violates the 
Constitution of the United States. When, however, an act has received 
the concurring sanction of both branches of the National Legislature, and 
has been approved by the President, it acquires the authority of law, and 
it depends upon another department of the Government to decide the 
question of its constitutionality. So long as it remains on the statute- 
book, sustained by those sanctions and not annulled by such decision, it 
b obligatory upon legislators as well as citizens. I will exemplify this 
opinion. If I believed, as some of our opponents, that Congress had no 
constitutional power to establish a bank, and, acting on this belief, had 
voted against its charter, I should not consider myself authorized to refuse 
by a subsequent act of legislation to provide for the punishment of offences 
against the corporation on the ground that its charter was, in my individual 
judgment, unconstitutional. I presume that this must have been Mr. Jef- 
ferson's view when he approved an act establishing a branch of that cor- 
poration the constitutional validity of whose charter he had denied. 

In the consummation of their wishes for the annexation of Texas, I 
have said that its advocates have a security which, under a change of cir- 
cumstances, they could not give us. With them the maxim is that each 
public agent is to obey the Constitution as he understands it, — a maxim 
signally illustrated in the House of Representatives of the United States, 
when, in defiance of the act for the apportionment of Representatives, 
they admitted to seats on that floor persons who had been elected in utter 
disregard of its provisions. I admit the truth of the aphorism that it is 
lawful to be taught by an enemy ; but that lesson I am not willing to 
learn. 

On the question of expediency, my opinion stated in the Senate remains 
unchanged. I did not doubt that some of our people, abandoning the 
worn-out fields of Georgia, might derive an immediate profit from the 
cultivation of the rich and virgin soil of Texas. But I love Georgia better 
than Texa.<(, and I felt that I was bound to consult the welfare of her col- 
lective people rather than that of those who, influenced by the thirst of 
gain, would abandon their native land and the homes of their fathers, 
It^viog it in comparative desolation with the resources which it had giveii 
them to build up and enrich another State. I did not realize the truth 
of the propoifition that the annexation of Texas was necessary to the con- 
«ierration of our peculiar domestic institutions. My personal obi$ennition 
had astFured me that the danger with which these were said to be me- 
naced had been magnified by demagogues ; and my own view waSy and v 
uochangeaLly, whenever that danger shall really exist, that the safer as 
veil as loftier courfee for Southern men to pursue, is to cut at onee the 
oord which binds us to fanatics, and to meet as open enemies rather tiuu 



% 



JOHN MACPHEBSON BERRIBN. 75 

as confederate States those who would seek thus insolently to interfere 
with a subject which belonged to us, and to us alone, exclusively to 
regulate. 

I could not doubt — since a portion of Texas, from its soil and climate, 
was adapted to slave-labor — that the South by its admission would ac- 

?uire an accession of strength in the councils of the Union ; but, when 
looked throughout the Confederacy, and saw how many of our con- 
federates were in the process of change from the condition of slave to 
free States, and the utter impossibility that a converse change would 
occur in any single solitary instance, I felt that this struggle for 
Southern preponderance in those councils by superiority of numbers was 
vain and idle, — a war against the fate to which our union with the other 
States of the Confederacy had destined us, only to be compensated by the 
essential advantages which that union secured to us ; that it might tem- 
porarily subserve the views of those whose lives had been spent in one 
long dream of elevation to the Presidency of these States, but that it 
could not permanently promote the interests of the South. I feared, too, 
the influence of this precedent and the overwhelming retribution which 
might be brought upon us when circumstances should permit and a ma- 
jority of Congress should resolve upon the annexation of States resting 
on another border of our Confederacy. 

The address from which the above extract relative to Texas is 
taken was published on a request which was made known to Mr. 
Berrien by a committee, to whom he replied as follows : — 

Savannah, November 22, 1845. 

Gentlemen : — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 14th inst., transmitting to me a copy of certain resolutions 
adopted by the Whig members of the Legislature on the 13th inst., and 
asking from me for publication a copy of the address delivered by me at 
that meeting. 

Availing myself of the earliest moment which, amon^ many and press- 
ing engagements, I have been able to command, I have hastily committed 
to paper, and now forward you, the substance of that address. 

I avail myself of the occasion, through you, to offer to the Whig mem- 
bers of the Legislature of Georgia my respectful acknowledgments for 
this renewed expression of their confidence, and to you, gentlemen, the 
assurance of respect and esteem with which 

I am, faithfully, yours, 

JonN 5Iacph£ES0N Beeeien. 

To the Hon. A. J. Milleb, C. H. Shockley, and A. F. Owen. 

At the same session of the Legislature (1845) the act was passed 
organizing the Supreme Court of Georgia; and it was the general 
desire and expectation of the public, without regard to party lines, 
that Mr. Berrien should be elected one of the judges. At the re- 
quest of the author, an original letter has been placed in his hands by 
the gentleman'*' to whom it was addressed, with permission to use it 

» ■ ■ ■■■!» ■■ I 11 — ■! ■■■! ■■■■.■I... — »■_■ — ■ ■ ■ ■» 

* Hon. Allen F. Owen. 



76 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

in this memoir. It shows the caution of a great mind in adminis- 
tering law, which ought to rebuke that haste, not to say rashness, 
with which some judges decide questions of intrinsic difficulty. 
Still, it is not pretended to assert that error is the common result 
of the instantaneous action of our courts. Some are better pre- 
pared by sudden illumination than they would be by prosy argu- 
ments, long continued, even to the exhaustion of mind and body. 
The happy medium has not yet been established, nor can it be 
until the faculties and tastes of men conform to a standard, — of 
which there is not the remotest possibility. In the case of Mr. 
Berrien, his modesty will, no doubt, surprise some who have never 
been recognised by the public as jurists, but who would, never- 
theless, consider it a very great omission of duty on their part to 
decline an office equal in dignity to that of Chief-Magistrate. 

Washington, January 26, 1846. 

My dear Sir: — I was gratified by the receipt of your letter, and 
would gladly have availed myself of an earlier opportunity to say so; 
but, io doing so now, I beg to add that I shall always be glad to hear 
from you. 

I would willingly have contributed my mite to the successful introduc- 
tion to the people of our Court for the Correction of Errors, if its or- 
ganization had been such as to have given me hope that I could do so. 
That I thought impossible. Independently of the sacrifice of individual 
comfort in attendance upon an itinerant court for eleven months in the 
year, the fact that it was required, in many instances, to be held in re- 
mote places, where the judges could not have access to a tolerable law- 
library and would probably bo aided only by the local bar, was decisive 
against my acceptance of the office. I pretend not to say what others 
can do. 1 am quite satisfied that I could not have discharged its duties 
to my own satisfaction. A life spent in the study of my profession — 
which I have pursued with some degree of ardor, though, perhaps, not 
always with sufficient industry — has not qualified me to decide important 
legal questions without resort to books and time to weigh their maxims ; 
and I was not willing, for the temptations which this office affi)rded, to 
sacrifice what little of legal reputation I may have among my country- 
men. 1 ivas anxious to convince our friends of my desire to meet their 
wishes if the office could be placed on such a footing as would justify my 
acceptance of it, and therefore suggested some alterations to be effected 
by a supplemental bill; but I was not anxious^ so far as I was personally 
concerned, that these should be adopted. 

There is no occasion for war with England. I am satisfied the Execu- 
tive does not expect it ; but there are some in Congress and the country 
who wish it, and more who hope to make political capital by professions 
of their patriotism and blustering denunciations of England, which may 
lead to it. Withal, 1 fear that a propensity for President-making in the 
Whig ranks may diminish our capacity to resist the efforts of dema- 
gogues. 



JOHN HACPHERSON BERRIBN. 77 

I was 8ony jou had not more time to give us io Savannah, and would 
have been glad to see you before jour departure, as I will be whenever 
you visit us again. Meantime, I will be gratified to hear from you, and 
will in reply advise you of the state of things here. 

I am, dear sir, 

Bespectfully and truly, yours, 

Jno. Macpherson Berriex. 

Another letter from Mr. Berrien to the same friend* is here 
submitted, showing the relative strength of Mr. Clay and Gen. 
Taylor with the Whig party for a nomination for the Presidency 
in 1848. It will be seen by the closing paragraph that the letter 
was not intended for publication; but as the motive of privacy, 
then proper enough, can no longer apply to aspirants of the same 
party, and as the silence of the tomb now mantles all that is 
mortal of the distinguished Taylor, Clay, and Berrien, there can 
be no impropriety in giving that letter to public inspection, as a 
record of the calculations which decide great political movements. 
Besides, it may be truly claimed for Mr. Berrien that it was not 
his character to write any thing which he would be ashamed to see 
in print, if all the circumstances were known to the public. 

Washington, March 28, 1848. 

My dear Sir : — I duly received your very kind and welcome letter, 
and have desired to reply to it ; but a constant pressure of engagements 
such as, for a shorter term, you have experienced at Milledgeville, has 
prevented me from doing it sooner. I have been compelled to tax my 
eyes, too, somewhat beyond their capacity, and they have been a little 
rebellious. I hope this delay will not induce you to abstain from writing. 
Volumes of correspondence reach me from other States; but the only really 
welcome letters, speaking generally, are those which come from my own. 

I read with great pleasure the account which you give me of B 's 

success, as satisfactorily confirming the representations which had reached 
me from others. He has fine talents and a popular eloquence, happily 
combined with stem integrity, warm afiiections, and a manly independence 
of character. If his life is spared, I shall expect to see him prominent 
in the councils of the nation. 

The division of opinion among Whigs in relation to Mr. Clay and 
Gen. Taylor, of which you speak, certainly exists to an unfortunate 
extent, — not as to the comparative qualifications of the two gentlemen, nor 
yet as to the individual whom the disputants would prefer to see elected, 
but as to (what they have coined a new word to designate) their availa- 
bility. All admit Mr. Clay's superior qualifications. Nine-tenths of the 
party would prefer to see him elected if they could believe it practicable ; 
but he is a defeated candidate. Public and private considerations require 
that the party should be successful in the approaching contest ; and, while 
these apprehensions are oppressing us, the name of a Whig general, 
rendered illustrious by his triumphs, is proclaimed by acclamation, and, 
apparently, by all parties. The . result was natural. Many leading 

* Col. Owen. 



'8 



BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 



Whigs, sincere friends of Mr. Clay, adopted Gen. Taylor as their can- 
didate, and justified their abandonment of the former by declaring their 
belief that he could not under any circumstances be elected. 

It has been thus with us in Georgia, with a superadded motive, spring- 
ing from the belief that Gen. Taylor's nomination would have aided us in 
the late election for Governor, — in which we were sadly mistaken. My 
firm belief is, and was, that if we had relied less on the military prestige 
of our candidate and the effect of the nomination of Gen. Taylor, and had 
conducted that canvass zealously on the ordinary issues, with the super- 
added one of the Mexican War, we would have succeeded. 

But I am omitting to answer your inquiry, whether Mr. Clay or Gen. 
Taylor will be the Whig candidate ; and, in truth, it is difficult to do so. 
I can only state facts and opinions as they appear to me here. Mr. Clay's 
name is not yet at the disposal of the party. He came here with a 
determination to forbid its use, but was prevailed upon to postpone the 
announcement of it until after the Connecticut elections, concerning the 
result of which there are fears. This was at the instance of Eastern 
gentlemen. It is now understood that when at home, whither he has 
gone, he will 8ur\'ey the whole ground and make and publish his final 
determination. The truth I believe to be, that, naturally desirous as he 
w to attain a prize for which he has been so long striving, he is yet 
extremely reluctant to hazard defeat, and will endeavor to ascertain the 
probable result before his determination is announced. Yet I presume 
his nunio will bo before the Convention, because I think the recent mani- 
festations of public feeling are calculated to bias the judgment of a man 
of fur less sanguine temperament than Mr. Clay. Before the Convention 
Mr. (Hay will not, as oompared with Gen. Taylor, be as strong as he would 
bu before the people. Gen. T. will get in Convention the votes of dele- 
gates from Democratic States, from which he will get no support at the 
polls. The nomination is, therefore, I think, somewhat uncertain, though 
the frionds of each party olaim it as undoubted. 

My foar has boon that we could not elect any Whig. My belief is that 
Mr. ('lay stands a better chance, if nominated, than any other. My 
riMiMiiiM are, that ho would get every State he got before, except perhaps 
Toiiiittwioe, in lieu of which ho would, it seems to be conceded, get New 
York. I ndiana, Tonnosseo, Louisiana, and Georgia would be to be contended 
for. If wo iiad not unfortunately committed ourselves, I would not fear 
i <H)Ut<)fit iu Georgia. I could name a dozen men whose cordial oo- 
uiitirMtioii, if they were unembarrassed by previously-expressed opinions, 
would lunuro it So much for Mr. Clay. 

NoWi ai« to (ion. Taylor, I think he will lose more Whig than he will 
ifftiii iNniiuoratio votes. 1 have no idea that he can get any Democratic 
Htalo but MimiiHiiippi. While in his present position, which he declares 
ttf |j« liiiiiiutiibld, gentlemen from the Northern and Eastern States say 
lllf«y will not vote for him. They require a man who will avow himself 
Ihwir (miidldato and the exponent of their principles. I do not hesitate 
Id avow loy proforonoo for Mr. Clay, and my readiness to support Gen. 
IVylor If ho m iiouiinated. 

I havo aimwored your inquiries frankly ; but I do not write for the 
IMllillo. You arc entitled to such information as I can give, and you 

INVO It. I^*" •"<' '*"*' ^*^"* y^^' "°^ believe me, always, 

Very truly, yours, 

Jno. Macpherson Berrixn. 



t 



k 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN.. 79 

In 1847, Mr. Berrien had been re-elected by the Legislature 
of Georgia for a new term in the Senate, to expire March 4, 1853. 
During this service the Compromise measures were discussed and 
adopted by Congress. It will not be necessary to follow the 
learned Senator through the debates on the Oregon question, 
Wilmot Proviso, Mexican War, Clayton Amendment, Slave Rescue 
in Boston, support of President Fillmore in executing the Fugitive 
Slave Law, and other agitating questions, in which he bore a con- 
spicuous part, always to the instruction of the Senate, and to the 
delight of the crowded gallery of spectators when it was known 
that he would occupy the floor. Much space has already been 
devoted to extracts from his speeches which appeared necessary to 
his vindication ; for it was his fortune, good or bad, to be ever 
severely scrutinized, and to have less than justice meted to him 
by his political opponents, as a general thing. It is no discredit 
to them that his eminent abilities, commanding reputation, the 
splendor of his eloquence in debate, the graces of his pen, and the 
influence of his unsullied name, constituted him an adversary whom 
they might well dread. But why he was traduced in so persevering 
a manner by a portion of the press and certain party leaders in 
Georgia can be explained only by the plea of human infirmity 
when interest and justice are in opposite scales. 

Much has been said of late of the petition signed by three thou- 
sand clergymen of New England, praying the repeal of the Fugitive 
Slave Law. On the 17th of February, 1851, Mr. Hamlin, of 
Maine, presented to the Senate a petition for this object, which is 
believed to be the same in substance, if not in the precise form, of 
that signed by the clergy, as follows : — 

To (he SenaU*. and House of Representatives of the United States. 

Whereas, Congress, at its late session, did pass a bill entitled An act to 
amend and supplementary to an act entitled An act respecting fugitives 
from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters, 
approved February 12, 1793, which said enactment was approved by the 
President, September 18, 1850; 

We, the undersigned, residents of the town of Burnham, in the county 
of Waldo and State of Maine, regarding that said act is in conflict with 
the Constitution of the United States, and also as infringing upon the 
duties which we owe to benevolence, to humanity, and to God, and bein^r 
unwilling to comply with its requisitions or submit to its penalties, 
earnestly ask its sp^dy repeal or modification. 

On the motion of Mr. Hamlin, the petition was referred to the 
Judiciary Committee, which fact coming to the knowledge of Mr. 



80 BSNCH AND BAR OF GEORQIA. 

Berrien, he on the same day urged his objections, which may be 
seen in the oflScial reports* of the Senate, thus : — 

When the Senator from New Hampshire advises his coadjutors to 
transfer these speeches — calculated, if not intended, to produce excitement 
among the people of this Union — from the Senate-Chamber to the stump, 
it would have been gratifying if he had enforced his precept by his 
example. But I rise for the purpose of calling the attention of the 
Senate to the nature of the memorial which has produced this discussion. 
Unquestionably it was by an oversight that the vote of the Senate to refer 
it to the Judiciary Committee was taken. Sir, what is it ? We are told 
that the signers of the paper arc respectable persons. What evidence is 
there in the paper presented to the Senate that this memorial was ever 
signed by those individuals ? Here are several sheets of paper on which 
names are inscribed, and on the top of these papers is pasted a memorial. 
There is not the slightest evidence upon the face of the paper that the 
memorial was ever subscribed by the individuals whose names are attached 
to it. And, sir, if they are of the respectable character which is given 
to them by the Senator from Maine, of which I will not permit myself to 
express, because I do not entertain, a moment's doubt, the inference is a 
plain one that such men of respectable character have never signed such 
a petition. What is it ? It states that you passed a law at the last 
session of Congress which violates the Constitution of the country, which 
is in conflict with the duties which we owe to benevolence, to humanity, 
and to God, — a law with the requisitions of which they are not willing to 
comply, and to the penalties of which they are not disposed to submit. 
It is this memorial, calling for a modification or repeal of the Fugitive 
Slave Law, which, by a vote of the Senate, is to be referred to the 
Judiciary Committee. And now, I pray you, what is the inquiry, or 
what are the inquiries, which that Committee is to make ? We are to 
inquire if the Congress of the United States at the last session have passed 
a law in violation of the Constitution, — have passed a law violating the 
duties of benevolence and humanity, and the duty which we owe to Grod. 
We are to inquire whether these memorialists are bound by the requi- 
sitions of that law to submit to its requirements or bear the infliction of 
its penalties. I ask whether this is such a memorial as ought to be 
referred by this Senate to one of its committees. I think, apart from all 
that has been said on this subject, the character of this memorial is one 
that forbids such a reference. I trust that the motion of the Senator 
from Missouri will prevail, that the subject will be reconsidered, and, 
since the memorial has been received, we shall do, from respect to our- 
selves, what that respect would have indicated if this suggestion had been 
made anterior to its reference, that we shall dispose of this memorial in 
the most summary manner possible. Such a memorial, if its substance 
had been known to the Senate, I trust would not have been received; 
and, the motion to reconsider having been made, I trust it will prevail 

The motion to reconsider was agreed to, and, on motion of Mr. 
Badger, the whole subject was laid on the table. 

The visit of Kossuth to the United States, and his formal recep- 



* Globe and Appendix, vol. xxiii. p. 577. 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIBN. 81 

tion by Congress, formed something of an epoch diflScult to charac- 
terize. It may be, and was, in fact, claimed, by a certain impul- 
sive class of our statesmen, as not only the expression of sympathy 
by the American people for the oppressed of all nations, but an 
obligation to assist those who prove worthy of freedom by an effort 
to cast off the yoke of despotism. While on the other hand equal 
sympathy is felt, the uniform established policy of the Government, 
from the lessons and examples of the first President down to our 
day, to abstain from all interference with foreign powers, must be 
maintained with inflexible impartiality. Such was the opinion of 
Mr. Berrien, as will be shown hereafter. 

On the 26th of February, 1851, the substitute offered by Mr. 
Shields to the resolution originally proposed by Mr. Foote was 
adopted by the Senate in the following words : — 

Whereas the people of the United States siocerely sympathize with 
the Hungarian exiles, Kossuth and his associates, and fully appreciate 
the magnanimous coaduct of the Turkish Government in receiving and 
treating those noble exiles with kindness and hospitality; and whereas it 
is the wish of those exiles to emigrate to the United States, and the will 
of the Sultan to permit them to leave his dominions : Therefore, 

Resolvedj by the Senate and Howe of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled^ That the President of the 
United States be, and he hereby is, requested to authorize the employ- 
ment of some one of the public vessels which may be now cruising in the 
Mediterranean to receive and convey to the United States Louis Kossuth 
and his associates in captivity. 

This resolution also passed the House of Representatives, and, in 
compliance with it, Kossuth and his followers were brought to the 
United States. After their arrival, Mr. Seward, on the 8th Decem- 
ber, 1851, submitted this joint resolution in the Senate : — 

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States in Conaress assembled, That the Congress of the United States, in 
the name and behalf of the people of the United States, give to Louis Kos- 
suth a cordial welcome to the Capital and to the country; and that a copy 
of this resolution be transmitted to him by the President of the United States. 

The next day it was taken up, and the question was on order- 
ing the resolution to a second reading. Mr. Berrien addressed the 
Senate, opposing its adoption. As the ^^ Kossuth mania" has sub- 
sided, it is well enough to circulate the arguments of a statesman 
so judicious as Mr. Berrien proved himself to be on that occasion. 
A part of his speech'*' is here given, as containing the pith of the 
whole matter : — 

The consideration which I am disposed to give to this subject, the 



* See Cong. Globe, vol. zzIt. part 1, p. 48. 
Vol. L— 6 



82 BENCH AND BAR OF OEOROIA. 

gravity of the question presented to us, arises, therefore, from the fact, 
patent on the face of the proceedings exhibited to us, that Mr. Kossuth 
expects from us, from the American Government, voluntarily, — of their 
own accord, if they will, and, if not, from the American people, acting upon 
the American Government, under the excitement produced by his narra- 
tive of Hungarian wrongs, a similar result, — a pledge that they will so far 
interfere in the contest about, as he says, to be renewed in Hungary, as 
to say to every foreign power, ** You must abstain from all interposition. 
The people of Hungary have the right to establish the principles of their 
own government. They are engaged in a contest with the power of Aus- 
tria. You must not interfere. We hold this to be the principle which 
our position in the civilized world requires us to maintain." We arc 
to become the champion of this principle, and, in union with Great Britain, 
we are to say to the Emperor of Russia, "Stand off! If you attempt 
to interpose in this contest between Hungary and Austria, wo shall be 
bound to render such interposition fruitless." Is this a fair interpreta- 
tion of the facts which are before the public ? I ask, without quoting 
them, a reference to the speeches of 3Ir. Kossuth delivered in various 
places in Europe, to the speech of a distinguished citizen of our own 
country in England, to the sentiments avowed by an American official 
there, and to various declarations made by Mr. Kossuth since his arrival 
on our shores. 

Now, what is the position in which he places this matter? He says to 
you, " The expression of your sympathies — of that feeling which is natural 
to every freeman — is grateful to the Hungarian . but the expression of your 
sympathy is valueless ; it can do us no good. Our necessities require that 
the expression of your sympathy should be followed by some efficient act 
on your part. I am a plain man," he says; **I am now here, where I am 
free to speak ; and I tell you that I come to ask the aid of your Govern- 
ment to secure to my countrymen the enforcement of the principle that 
no foreign power shall be permitted to interfere in the contest which we 
shall wage with Austria for the establishment of our independence." Sir, 
if gentlemen have read the speech of the distinguished American citizen 
in Europe to whom I have referred, they have seen distinctly avowed 
this proposition. 

There is about to be a convulsion iu Europe. A league of despots 
have combined for the purpose of destroying all republican governments, 
and the question proposed is, Shall we wait until, isolated and alone, we 
are compelled to arrest their aggression ? or shall we unite ourselves with 
the only really free Government on the other side of the Atlantic, and 
announce, in advance, our determination to maintain the principles for 
which Mr. Kossuth contends ? In express language, it is said, in the speech 
to which I have referred, that England and the United States, looking to 
their mercantile and naval marine, command the ocean ; that they have 
it in their power to blockade the ports of those despotic powers, if it be 
necessary, or, if not necessary, to place their vessels at the mouths of the 
harbors of their different ports, and to repeat the operation which was 
practised by our own Government upon Mexico during our war with that 
power, — to levy duties on vessels entering those ports, and in that way to 
destroy their commerce. 

I refer to these details not for the purpose of commenting upon them, 
not of expressing an opinion as to their efficiency, still less to intimate 
:iny opinion of the correctness of their avowal, but simply to show that 
it is not your sympathy which Mr. Kossuth asks. It is not public honors 




JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 83 

to himself wbicb Le seeks. No, sir : he comes here to obtain from you a 
pledge to enforce the principle that no foreign power shall be permitted 
to interfere between the Hungarian people and the Austrian Government 
in the event of a renewal of the contest. Are we prepared to give that 
pledge? Whence do we derive our authority? We have in these two 
Chambers the right to exercise all legislative power which is conferred 
by the Constitution ; and among these powers is that of declaring war. 
Have we the power, under circumstances like the present, to pledge this 
Government irredeemably to a course of action which may lead to war, 
and which must, in all human probability, have that result ? 

I do not know what estimate is formed of the character of the Emperor 
of Russia: it has not been a subject of my study. But I can imagine 
that if any thing could arouse the feelings of an individual to resistance 
against such interference as is proposed, it would be the annunciation of 
the principles that we, to them a trans- Atlantic power, a free people who 
have hitherto declared that, while maintaining the principles of freedom 
within our own limits, we abstain absolutely and entirely from all inter- 
ference with any other Government, — nay, more, that we will allow (as 
some are disposed to assert) no interference of any European power in 
the affairs of this Continent, — if any circumstance, I say, could arouse 
the feelings of the individual who is now at the head of the Russian 
Empire to a degree which must inevitably result in war, it would be the 
course which it is now proposed to pursue. That this course is contraiy 
to the settled policy of the Government from its foundation, I think no 
one will be disposed to deny. Our Presidents and our Congresses have 
not hesitated to express, in times past, their devotion to the principles of 
civil liberty. They will not hesitate now. 'But, from the time of General 
Washington's Farewell Address to the American people, down to the 
present moment, the principle of avoiding entJingling alliances with other 
nations, — such as, I think, must be the inevitable result of the progress of 
these proceedings, if they should bo adopted, — the principle of avoiding 
all interference with the disturbances or convulsions of Europe, bos been 
uniformly and emphatically avowed. 

I desire to ascertain from the American Senate — according to the indi- 
vidual whom it is intended to honor on this occasion all the merit which 
his most enthusiastic admirers may be disposed to claim for him — whether 
they are disposed to depart from that principle of policy by adopting a 
measure which, in my judgment, necessarily involves that departure. 

We are told of the interpretation which the civilized world has given 
to the mere act of invitation which has been extended to this individual 
and his associates, by sending for them a national vessel ; and if, after the 
avowals he has made in England, — if, after the declarations of the distin- 
guished American citizen to whom I have referred, and which Mr. Kos- 
suth says expresses all his feelings and all his desires, — if, after the declara- 
tions which Kossuth has made after landing on our shores, the distinc- 
tion which he has drawn between the Government and the people, his 
avowal of a determination to appeal to the people for the active sympathy 
which he invokes in behalf of his country, — if after this, which is per- 
fectly known to us, the Congress of the United States, representing the 
thirty-one sovereign States of this Union and the twenty-five millions of 
people which compose it, shall welcome him to the shores of the United 
States in this formal manner, do they not thereby impliedly acquiesce in 
the object which he thus publicly and in advance announces that he came 
here to accomplish? Is not that the very interpretation the civilized 



84 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

world will give it ? He sajs to the American people, — and the declara- 
tion is before us while we are agitating the question : — 

I do not come here to ask yoar sympathy. That is gratifying, but Talaeleas. 
I come here to invoke the aid of the great American Republic to protect my people, 
peaceably if they may, by the moral inflaenco of their declarations, bat forcibly 
if they must, by the physical power of their arm, — to prerent any foreign inter> 
ference in the straggle about to be renewed for the liberties of my country. I am 
a plain man. I am in a land of freedom. I am permitted to speak freely my senti- 
ments. This is what I ask. If this is accorded to me, I go home, and the liberties 
not merely of Hungary, but of Europe, are secured. If not, I go with my coun- 
trymen alone to renew that struggle for the achievement of our liberties. 

This language is too distinct to be mistaken. If this resolution passes, 
extending to him alone (departing from your invitation, for that in- 
cluded his associates') the welcome which it proposes, after these declara- 
tions of the object for which he comes here, the civilized world will be 
much more authorized than they were by the invitation which has been 
referred to by the Senator from New York [Mr. Seward] to conclude that 
the welcome to Governor Kossuth implies a pledge that we will inteipose, 
if necessary, and in the manner he desires, for the protection of the Hun- 
garian nation. In my judgment, this inference is inevitable; and if it be 
not, yet if it occasion doubt, if it result in producing opposition to this 
resolution in its present form, if gentlemen do believe (and I doubt not 
they are sincere in the declaration) that this is a mere testimonial of the 
respect and good-will of the people of the United States toward a distin* 
guished advocate of the cause of civil liberty, they will not hesitate to 
accept the amendment which I shall submit, and which is simply cal- 
culated to exclude this conclusion. I desire, in the first place, by the 
amendment which I shall propose, to fulfil the expectations which were 
reasonably created by the invitation, by extending this resolution to 
the associates of Governor Kossuth. The interposition of the American 
Government in behalf of these captives was not confined to that individual 
alone : it extended to all his associates in captivity. The invitation to 
our shores equally embraced them all. If, therefore, we are acting in ful- 
filment of the obligations created by the invitation, we must not confine 
the resolution to Governor Kossuth, but must extend it to his associates. 
To him and to them, to the full extent of my constitutional powers, I am 
willing to afford an asylum within the limits of the United States, and to 
provide all the means of making that asylum comfortable. But I should 
be unfaithful to my duty as an American Senator, according to the con- 
victions of my judgment, if I suffered any zeal for the advancement of the 
principle of civil liberty on the other side of the Atlantic to induce me 
to jeopard the safety and the vital interests of the country which is my 
own, to which I owe my first, entire, and absolute allegiance. I am 
unwilling, therefore, to leave it to implication, that by this reception, 
under these circumstances, we have entered into a pledge that by the 
exertion of moral, and, if necessary, of physical, force, we will protect the 
people of Hungary from all foreign interference upon the renewal of their 
struggle. Such a pledge would be irrevocable. It could not be violated 
without dishonor. It could not be redeemed without putting in jeopardy 
the best and most vital interests of our country. 

These are the views which I entertain on this subject, and, in accord- 
ance with them, I propose to amend the resolution by adding to it the 
following : — 

And be it further Resolved, That the welcome thus afforded to Louia Kossuth be 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 85 

extended to his associates who have landed on our shores ; but, while welcoming 
these Hungarian patriots to an asylnm in oar country, and to the protection which 
our laws do and always will afford to them, it is due to candor to declare that it 
is not the purpose of Congress to depart from the settled policy of this Govern- 
ment which forbids all interference with the domestic concerns of other nations. 

Finally, on the 12th of December, 1851, the vote was taken on 
Mr. Berrien's amendment in two branches : first, that the welcome 
be extended to Kossuth and his associates, which was rejected, — 
yeas 13, nays 27; second, that the ancient policy of the Government 
be not disturbed, which was also rejected, — ^yeas 15, nays 26. The 
vote was then taken on the original resolution, which passed in the 
aflBrmative, — ^yeas 33, nays 6. The resolution was subsequently 
passed by the House of Representatives, and its adoption notified 
to the Senate on 15th December. 

The formal reception of Kossuth is thus described in the oflBcial 
report* of the Senate, January 5, 1852 .-; — 

At one o'clock the doors of the Senate-Chamber were thrown open, 
and Governor Kossuth, supported by the Committee appointed by the 
Senate to introduce him, the Hon. James Shields, the Hon. William H. 
Seward, and the Hon. Lewis Cass, entered and advanced within the bar, 
the Senate rising to receive them. 

The suite of Governor Kossuth, in military uniform, were grouped 
below the bar. 

Mr. Shields addressed the President as follows : — 

Mr. President, we have the honor to introduce Louis Kossuth to the Senate of 
the United States. 

The President pro tempore then addressed him as follows : — 

Louis Kossuth, I welcome you to the Senate of the United States. The Com- 
mittee will conduct jou to the seat Which I have caused to be prepared for you. 

He was then conducted to a chair in front of the President's desk, and 
seated with the Committee of the Senate. 

Mr. Mangum arose some time afterward and said : — 

Mr. President, with the view of affording Senators an opportunity of paying 
their respects to our illustrious guest, I move that the Senate do now adjourn. 

The motion was agreed to. 

The President then descended to the floor of the Senate, and was in- 
troduced to Governor Kossuth by the Committee. The other Senators 
were also severally introduced; after which gentlemen and ladies present 
in great numbers sought the same gratification. Among the incidents of 
the levee, it may be mentioned that when the martial figure of General 
Houston approached Kossuth there appeared to be a special attraction in 
the person of the hero of San Jacinto. The introduction having been 
made, the following brief but expressive dialogue ensued : — 

Mr, Houston, Sir, you are welcome to the Senate of the United States. 
Mr. Kotmth. I can only wish that I had been as successful as you, sir. 
Mr. Houston. God grant that you may yet be so ! 

Subsequently the distinguished stranger was conducted to the Vice- 



♦ Cong. Qlobe, toL xxiv. part 1. p. 199. 



86 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

President's room to which the President pro tempore and Senators retired 
with him. 

The visit of Kossuth and suite to the Capital, for a period of ten 
days, and his public reception as the guest of the American people, 
gave rise to another little proceeding y couched in the words of Mr. 
Seward, in behalf of Mr. Shields, who was absent from the Senate, 
February 12, 1852 :— 

Resolved, That the expenses incurred in the reception of Louis Kofl- 
sttth and suite, during their lato visit to the Capital by invitation of Con- 
gress, be paid out of the contingent fund of the Senate, when approved 
by the Committee of reception, to an amount not exceeding five thousand 
dollars. 

After considerable debate, the resolution was adopted on the 
11th of March, 1852, by yeas 31, nays 6. 

The selections from the speeches of Mr. Berrien have been made 
to illustrate the questions on which they were delivered, more than 
as specimens of his eloquence. There is no doubt that many 
speeches and paragraphs more beautiful than any here quoted 
have been omitted by thfe author. The perfect charm was in the 
elocution of Mr. Berrien, a just idea of which cannot be conveyed 
on paper. 

The period has now arrived when he voluntarily retires from 
public life. The resignation of his seat in the Senate is thus 
noticed in the published record* of May 28, 1852 : — 

RESIGNATION OF MR. BERRIEN. 

Hie President. The chair has received from an honorable Senator 
from Georgia, John Macpherson Berrien, a statement that he has 
resigned his seat in the Senate of the United States. The chair will take 
occasion to say, that, having long served with that honorable Senator, it 
is with deep regret that he finds himself under the necessity of presenting 
this communication. That Senator had always shown himself upon this 
floor to be a gentleman of uniform courtesy, nis ability all can appre- 
ciate for his services here. Ilis usefulness to the country the country 
will appreciate ; and his resignation will be deeply regretted. 

The letter of resignation was read, as follows : — 

Washujoto.n, May 28, 1852. 

Sir : — ^Be pleased to accept this as the resignation of my seat in the 
Senate of the United States. Having already notified the Governor of 
Georgia of my intention to retire from the Senate, it only remains, in 
closing my connection with a body with which I have been so long asso- 
ciated, to express to its members my respectful good wishes for their 



* Cong. Globe, vol. xxiv. part 2, p. 1493. 



JOHN HACPHEBSON BERRIEK. 87 

individual prosperity and happiness, and to subscribe myself, very re- 
spectfully, your obedient servant, 

John Macpherson Berrien. 
To the Hon. William R. King, 

President pro tern. Senate of tJte United States, 

Mr. Butler,* As the subject is up, perhaps I should announce 
that a vacancy on the Judiciary Committee is caused by the resignation 
of the Senator from Georgia. I desire to ask that a member may be 
appointed to fill the place of that gentleman. In doing so, I take occa- 
sion to say that he has been a most valuable member upon that com- 
mittee. He was my counsellor ; and upon all important questions, par- 
ticularly those of a Constitutional character, I resorted to Judge Berrien 
with more confidence, perhaps, than to any other member associated with 
me on that committee, — meaning no disparagement to the others, but 
because he had been longer on the committee, and was more familiar with 
the subjects before it. And I can only announce, while asking that his 
place may be filled with another, that I much regret his departure. I 
move that the vacancy be filled by the President of the Senate. 

Soon after his return to Georgia, Judge Berrien attended the 
Supreme Court at Americus, where he appeared in several im- 
portant bank case8,t taken up on writs of error from Columbus, 
involving the personal liability of the stockholders for the out- 
standing bills issued by the bank as circulation. His argument 
occupied some two or three days, and is said to have been a master- 
piece of judicial learning and logic. It was on this occasion, 
returning from the court, that he passed a night in Oglethorpe, 
then quite a populous and thrifty town at the terminus of the 
Southwestern Railroad. Such was the respect entertained for 
him by all parties, that, after hearing a discussion on Presidential 
topics, the citizens formed a procession and marched in perfect 
order to the hotel, where a pleasant scene took place, which was 
thus described in the Southern Democrat of July 24, 1852 : — 

Hon. John M. Berrien. — This distinguished citizen and faithful 
public servant of Georgia received tjie public greeting of a large con- 
course of the citizens of Oglethorpe, on Thursday night, at the Empire 
Hotel. On his way home from Americus, whither he had been attending 
the Supreme Court, Judge Berrien was casually in our midst, reposing 
himself after severe professional labor and a slight attack of indisposi- 
tion. His name was dear to the people of Georgia. As an orator, states- 
man, and jurist, his fame was in every clime. No wonder, then, that his 
presence should call forth such a demonstration of respect from the warm- 
hearted and patriotic of all parties in our city. 

About ten o'clock at night, the concourse assembled at the hotel, and, 



* Senator Butler died Mny 24, 1857. 

t See Thornton vs. Lane, 2 Georgia Reports, 469. The argument on both sides 
occupied eight days. 




88 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

upon being informed that the judge had retired, sent him a respectful 
message to appear at the window, that they might receive even a few 
words from him. The judge consented that his friends outside might 
give one cheer and then leave him to his rest, for he was too feeble in 
body to make them a speech. They began to shout his name, and then 
cheer after cheer succeeded, until the veteran Senator, the beloved asso- 
ciate of Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, appeared at the window. Perfect 
silence reigned, to catch every tone of his rich voice. He returned 
thanks, and excused himself in a manner so graceful and eloquent that 
it was deeply regretted the remarks could not be extended. But the 
voice of Judge Berrien had been heard, — that voice on which Chief- 
Justice Marshall used to hang with delight, and which has charmed vast 
assemblages of his countrymen in the court-room, in literary halls, at 
mass meetings, and in the Senate- Chamber. He took the cars yesterday 
for Savannah. May happiness and long life crown his eminent career ! 

The Senate of the United States is still a very respectable body. 
It used to be more : it was illustrious. Never did it possess such 
an array of talent, of dignified and practical statesmanship of the 
very highest order, as when Calhoun, Clay, Webster, and Ber- 
rien were members together. Mr. Forsyth was entitled to rank 
in this galaxy. It may indeed be said that there were giants in 
those days. The Senate has suffered an eclipse. Broad, pure 
sunlight may again irradiate it. The men are on hand, to be 
brought out, like the statue in the block of marble, by removing 
the concealment. The views* of the author on this subject were 
lately given to the public, which he here ventures to transcribe. 
He had been glancing through Revolutionary statistics and bene- 
factors, paying at the close a deserved tribute to the Hon. Lewis 
Cass, (from whose speech on the mission of the Papal States to 
this country he quoted,) and then the author continued: — 

The fathers of the republic are gone; the second generation since ha.«» 
almost passed away ; and now, in the midst of a sanguine and progressive 
age, we are pushing the conquests of civilization throughout the Western 
world. General Cass is, perhaps, the only civilian now in service whose 
youth mingled with the sages of the Revolution. His career has been one 
of honorable success, and long may he live to promote the good of his 
country. 

On a proud eminence, and as belonging to a class of men nearly extinct, 
three other names occur to us deserving a grateful tribute. Other than 
the three, we mention no more living in the balance of this paper. We 
have no fear of exciting jealousy by the record. Berrien, Everett, 
and Preston, each in himself unites the Ciceronian elements of cha- 
neter, in a degree never excelled in our country, — ripe scholarship, fault- 
* Ofatory, and the highest moral cultivation. As stars of fixed magni- 



• See September No., 1865, of De Bow's Review, vol. xix. p. 286 — Art, 
Ghrouolee of the GoTemment and People of the United States.'' 



JOHN MACPHER60N BERRIEN. 89 

tude, loDg may they adorn tbe horizon of freedom and literature, to win 
oar youth to greatness in the same paths ! 

With such names as we have introduced in the course of this article, 
and others familiar to the public, always present to our thoughts, we are 
apt to pronounce the race of great men as forever gone, and that the actors 
now on the political stage can never achieve equal celebrity. True, the 
material is different : the same influences that marked out Washington, 
Franklin, and Henry, and made them the wonder of mankind, may 
never be brought to bear again, to develop character. Id their day, 
intelligence was less difiFused among the people than at present ; it was 
locked up in few minds, and its exhibition was the more striking on that 
accotint. A man who could write in good style was a prodigy ; respect- 
able gifts of speech secured distinction to the possessor at once. We 
honor the men of the Revolution, heroes, jurists, and statesmen, authors^ 
artists, and bards, and we hope ever to venerate them : still, we do not 
yield to them superiority over the men now in action, and those pre- 
paring for the public arena. We briefly give some of our reasons. 

Let any man take up the four volumes of the Congressional Globe and 
Appendix — in all, thirty-five hundred quarto pages — ^for the first session 
of the thirty-third Congress, and let him read the conversational debates, 
and those of a more formal character, as given by the reporters, and he 
will find talent, wit, humor, searching argument, keen invective, bold 
eloquence, and stores of historical and diplomatic information, with a 
facility of applying it, that will astonish him. We know that the mind 
is there, — mind that is improving ; every stroke of the hammer eliminates 
a spark and strengthens the metal. And, lest we might be suspected of 
a very high degree of juniorship in such matters, we frankly state that 
the hisindsome dress in which most of the debates appear, the harmony 
of periods, the connection of ideas, and the order of argument, are often 
supplied by the reporters, who have a professional pride to allow no cru- 
dities to meet the public eye. We have heard speeches from plain, 
sluggish, and uncouth men, full of bad English, as delivered ; but when 
printed from the reporter's copy they were wholly different, though in 
substance the same, — had a face of beauty and learning, and seemed 
worthy of a practised orator. A few suggestions, and a natural method 
of stating facts, regardless of the tone of voice, the trembling knees, and 
the halting phrase, will enable a reporter to write out an excellent speech. 
Admitting all this to be true, we maintain that there is an amount of 
talent in the country that will prove sufficient in any emergency that 
may arise in our political fortunes, foreign or domestic ; and especially if 
men shall be encouraged to effort by the present liberal system of Con- 
gressional reporting, and the privilege of publishing speeches superior to 
those frightened out in debate, with entirely new matter, and most ele- 
gant finishiug, there will be no lack of greatness, as shown hy the record , 
to excite the wonder of constituents and succeeding generations. 

As printed, all speeches read well, and most of them appear to possess 
the same order of ability, even when we know the great disparity between 
their authors in mental and scholastic advantages. The press is the 
graud fulcrum on which the lever does its work, builds up men and sys- 
tems, pulls down and alters at pleasure, gives notoriety on small pretence, 
and keeps the world wide awake. Nowhere, probably, do such enter- 
prises prosper more than at Washington ; for nowhere else can be found 
such accomplished letter-writers^ such competition in management; and 



90 BBNCH AND BAR OF QEORQIA. 

such startling conjectures, Tbo talent of Congress would be compara- 
tively obscure in public estimation but for tbe greater talent outside 
the bar. 

The people ought not to complain of any of these seeming abuses, 
"which ino the very life of society. Without this reckless, con.staut vigor 
of mind and interest in the lobbies of Congress, — often proclaiming truth 
to the benefit or injury of some person or party, — we should have no 
richly -flavored political dishes at home, no thunder-claps to purify the 
atmosphere, no shadows to make the sun more beautiful. Look at the 
tables we have submitted ; call to mind the dead and living who have 
legislated for us, — equal in the aggregate to the service of one man in 
Congress for six thousand four hundred and fifty years, at a cost of 
twenty-five millions of dollars per diem and mileage; and then reflect 
upon the incidentals since 1789, the expenditure of labor, the anxious 
mindS; the success and defeat, hopes and disappointments, the wielding 
of executive patronage, &c. &c. These are all chronicled in newspaper 
files, from the day the first President communicated with Congress down 
to the present. We presume that a regular succession of such papers 
may be found in the Congressional Library, as Mr. Jefferson was in the 
habit of preserving all the gazettes of his day, and they are, no doubt, in 
his collection attached to the library. It is fair to presume that NiUss 
Register y The Glohey The Unions National Intelligencer, and other papers 
subsequent to the period of Mr. Jefi'erson's husbandry, have also been 
secured to the library for reference. If not all sustained by the patronage, 
they are at least the jottrnals, (or diary,) of the Government, and as such 
may be consulted as to current transactions. 

Judge Berrien had fame enough to satisfy even the proudest 
ambition. He had been a long time a servant of the people. In 
all offices, in all trusts, in all emergencies, his fidelity was acknow- 
ledged. Besides, he had a reputation beyond the borders of his 
own country for scholarship, eloquence, and refinement. His 
classic mind, his perfect urbanity, his elevated nature, embellished 
with all the graces which constitute the true gentleman, were known 
in the principal courts of Europe, where his name was familiar in 
diplomatic circles, although he had never served his country 
abroad. Age had softly impressed more than threescore and ten 
upon his temples ; and, with fresh complexion, buoyant step, and 
cheerful spirits, he still bade fair to live many years, to comfort his 
children and to counsel with his fellow-citizens in seasons of 
difficulty. 

Within the last few years a new political organization had been 
formed, styled the "American party," whose object was to counter- 
act foreign influence, which was rapidly increasing by immigration 
from Europe, at the rate, it was alleged, of half a million annually, 
and that, for the most part, of an ignorant population, including a 
large number of paupers and criminals cast upon our shores to be 
fed by charity and to corrupt society by the presence of such a 



JOHN MACPHEKSON BERRIEN. 91 

• 

moral ulcer in the body politic. This was the leading idea around 
which the party rallied, first as a secret order, and then openly as 
a party contending for supremacy in public affairs. The issue was 
met by the Democratic party of Georgia with signal triumph, at the 
polls, in October, 1855. Pending the canvass, the sentiments of 
Judge Berrien were given to the public in an Address to the 
People of Georgia, which, as being the last he ever wrote, is incor- 
porated in this memoir, to be referred to for the constitutional 
principle discussed and for the lights shed by his powerful mind. 
It is dated from his summer residence in the mountains of 
Georgia : — 

Rockingham, 4th September, 1855. 
To the People of Georgia, 

Fellow-Citizens : — I have received sundry communications from 
individuals and from committees of citizens, inviting me to attend public 
assemblies of the people in different parts of the State, for the purpose of 
discussing the questions which have been«and which continue to be agi- 
tated during the present canvass, — or, if that could not be done, requesting 
me to express my opinions on the subjects which excite the popular mind, 
in a form which might be given to the public. In complying with this 
alternative request, since the first is impracticable, I hope I shall not be 
considered presumptuous. While I am desirous of avoiding intrusion, I 
am unwilling to shrink from the performance of a duty; and, having 
passed a great portion of my life in the service of this State, I do not feel 
at liberty to withhold my opinion on any question of public interest con- 
cerning which my fellow-citizens may desire the expression of it. 

This is my real feeling, — that which induces this address. I do not 
assume to guide public opinion, but simply to express my own at the call 
of those who have a right to ask it. Yet, in doing so, I must speak 
plainly, and must necessarily come in conflict with some of the opposing 
opinions which have been urged with so much vehemence during the 
present canvass. If this shall subject me to the vituperation which has 
been so lavishly indulged, I will rely on the intelligence and honorable 
feeling of my countrymen to spare me the humiliation of replying to such 
assaults. 

As an appropriate introduction to the remarks which I propose to 
submit to your consideration, it becomes necessary to advert for a moment 
to the condition of parties in our State. The ancient issues which divided 
the Whig and Democratic parties have either ceased to exist or have been 
for the time laid aside. A party has arisen, which, drawing its support 
from the ranks of both of its predecessors, presents new and important 
questions to public consideration. The Whig party, although not dead, 
as has been vainly supposed, abstains as a party from entering into this 
contest. As a conservative body, it nevertheless exists, and must continue 
to do so as long as a genuine spirit of conservatism is cherished by the 
people of Georgia. From the Union party, — which was the offspring of 
an occasion, — as well as from the Democratic party, large draughts have 
been made by this new adventurer in the political field. The ofiajority 
of the Democratic party, however, remains intact, and is strengthened by 
some (in point of numbers) inconsiderable accessions from the ranks of its 



92 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

ancicDt opponents, and, perhaps, yet more by the fact that the great 
majority of them have hitherto stood aloof from the contending parties. 

The Democratic party, even thus mutilated, advances boldly to the 
conflict, waging uncompromising hostility against this new aspirant to 
political power. The present contest is tnerefore waged between this un- 
broken remnant of the ancient Democracy, strengthened as I have before 
intimated, and an association of individuals, or orders, who have assumed 
to themselves the name of the American party. In the manoeuvring 
preparatory to the actual conflict, the Democratic party, with its ususd 
tact, has secured a position to windward, by which it has the privilege of 
becoming the assailant, and of selecting its point of attack, while its oppo- 
nents, organized for the purpose of correcting abuses, have found them- 
selves unexpectedly put on the defensive. 

In this state of the controversy, the questions we are to consider 
relate, — 

1. To the object contemplated by the American party. 

2. To the means proposed for its accomplishment. 

We are first, then, to examine the object of this party, — ^to ascertain 
its character, and to determine its tendency to promote or conflict with 
the public welfare. Its first ^reat object — that which is elemental and 
primary, and to which all others are considered as auxiliary or antici- 
pated as results, as it is expressed in their own language — is that Ameri- 
cans shall govern America; that is, that the people of the country — those 
to whom it belongs — shall govern the country. This would seem to be a 
simple, undeniable, and acceptable proposition, recognised by every civilized 
community, and maintained even among the tribes of the forest ; and so 
it would be received here and now among us, if it could be viewed simply 
and on its own merits, apart from those extraneous considerations with 
which it has been connected and complicated and by which it is influ- 
enced. It is inconceivable that any considerable number of American 
citizens, whether natives or those who have been heretofore naturalized, 
could be willing to surrender the government of their country to foreigners, 
and to that description of foreigners who are annually, and in such im- 
mense numbers, migrating to our shores. The naked proposition, simply 
presented at the domestic firesides of our citizens, would hardly find an 
advocate. But it is not considered simply and on its own merits. The 
aspirations of individuals and the interests of party combine to forbid it. 
A great party wielding the power of the Government has attained and 
maintains its power by the aid of a vote which is substantially foreign, 
although the voters may have passed through the forms of a hurried natu- 
ralization. It is natural that they should be unwilling to concur in any 
measure which might divest them of this power or have a tendency to 
diminish their present or prospective means of securing and increasing it. 
They are therefore, under the promptings of interest, the advocates of the 
foreigner, zealous to maintain and willing to extend his privilege of partici- 
pating in the government of the country. And then, again, the aspirants 
to political eminence — those in search of official position in the State 
or in the Union, who would win the support of this great party — must 
worship at the altars which they have consecrated, and be eloquent in the 
assertion of the rights of the foreigner, — as if he had any rights here 
until we had conferred them. Call to your recollection the thrilling 
speeches to which you have listened at the various gatherings which you 
have attended, — the pious horror which has been expressed at the alleged 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 93 

violation of liberty of conscience, the touching pictures which have been 
drawn of our country as the asylum of the oppressed, the bold assertion 
of the fitness of the foreign immigrant to share your most cherished privi- 
leges in the same extent in which you yourselves enjoy them, — and then 
consider from whom this declamation comes ; say if it proceeds from the 
disinterested advocates of the common interest^ or the bold and selfish 
assertors of their own. 

To accomplish the object expressed in their primary, elementary maxim, 
that Americans shall govern America^ the American party proposes, — 

1. Substantial modifications of the acts regulating naturalization. 

Under the existing laws, five years' residence in the country and a 
compliance with the forms prescribed by them entitle a foreigner to 
citizenship, and to all the privileges which you enjoy, — with two or three 
exceptions, to which it is not necessary to refer. The American party 
desire to enlarge this term, — to provide for a more accurate scrutiny of 
the claims of persons applying for naturalization, and against the immi- 
gration of paupers and felons into the United States. 

In my judgment, these measures would be eminently conducive to the 
public welfare. This is with me no new opinion, and it is not now for 
the first time expressed. Several years ago the subject engaged the at- 
tention of Congress. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I made a 
report to the Senate, contemplating a full and final report, at the then 
next session, on the return of certain commissioners, to ascertain the 
various frauds which were alleged to exist in the grant, and subsequent 
use, of naturalization-papers. Before that time, changes in the Senate 
resulted in placing a Democratic Senator at the head of the Committee, 
and the matter was abandoned. 

I do not think it necessary to enter into an elaborate argument to prove 
that the indiscriminate admission of foreigners after a residence of five 
years to the privilege of citizenship is an evil. We are making — we have 
thus far successfully made — an experiment of self-government. Our free 
institutions, which have hitherto been found efficient for national advance- 
ment and for individual security, have been indebted for their support 
to the loyalty of our people rather than to their own compulsive powers. 
The founders of the Republic were men qualified for their office, — united 
in reverence for the laws, in resistance to oppression, in devotion to the 
principles of civil liberty; and the spirit which animated them was in- 
fused into the institutions which they established. It was only siich men 
who could have founi^ed siLch a government Men animated by a simi- 
lar spirit can alone preserve it. Let the abortive attempts in revolu- 
tionary France to establish and maintain free institutions attest the truth 
of this assertion. 

Now, I propound this inquiry : — Are the foreigners who are being, and 
especially at the approach of our election, so rapidly incorporated among 
us, likely to be animated by this salutary spirit, fitted to be the guardians 
of our free institutions ? I would be very sorry to deny that among these 
emigrants there are some worthy men, who, when familiarized to our in- 
stitutions by long residence among us, may become good citizens and 
capable of participating in our privileges; but no candid man will deny 
that a large proportion are of a very different character, consisting for the 
most part of Red Republicans or anarchists, criminals, and paupers, — or 
will venture, when dismounted from the stump, calmly to assert that five 
years' residence here will qualify an ignorant foreigner thoroughly to un- 



94 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

derstanJ our institutions and loyally to confonn to them. Then let it be 
remembered that each one of these who is admitted to the exercise of the 
elective franchise without being thus qualified, and who is consequently 
liable to be led astray by the artifice of the demagogue or coerced by the 
threatened anathema of his priest, annuls the vote of one citizen, — may, 
in fact, expunge your vote or mine. Then consider the number and 
character of the people who arc annually cast upon our shores. I do not 
mean to trouble you with statistics. I dare say the records have been 
ransacked by opposing candidates for your favor, and that the results are 
familiar to you. I take from the papers of the day those to which I refer, — 
incontrovertible statements. 

Bear in mind, then, the fact that a foreign immigration, which up to 
the year 1800 did not exceed five thousand persons, has risen since 
ISr^O to half a million, and which, looking to the state of Europe, 
will probably in a very short time amount up to a million a year. Now, 
give a free scope to your benevolent feelings ; exercise the most extended 
charity in estimating the probable number of those who are worthy men, 
capable by a proper probationary term of being rendered good citizens, 
and what a fearful residue will remain, what a mass of poisonous ingre- 
dients to be infused into the body politic! The census of 1850 shows 
that the number of foreign paupers and criminals exceeded that of native 
paupers and criminals, although the iintive population was seven times 
tjreater than the foreign. What would be your feelings if poverty and 
crime existed in this proportion and to this extent among yourselves? 
If the quantum of pauperism and vice which existed among you was the 
proportion of a population seven times greater in number than your own, 
what security would you have for your free institutions ? what guarantee 
for your individual rights ? 

Consider, also, that these emigrants, shunning the South from their un- 
willingness to compete with slave-labor, and flocking to the North, 
from their abolition tendencies, in search of kindred spirits, are thus 
rapidly increasing the majority against you in Congress at every appor- 
tionment, and will, unless checked, in no very groat length of time place 
the Constitution and the institutions of the South at the mercy of fanati- 
cism. 

And how are these calamities to be averted, if this horde of foreigners 
rapidly increasing is to be annually added to your society? The plagues 
of P]gypt were mercies, — since they were guided by divine benevolence, 
and stayed by his omnipotence when the deliverance of his chosen people 
was effected. But who shall stay this moral pestilence if you are insen- 
sible to your danger? If persevered in, in what can it eventuate but in 
the ruin of the Kepublic ? Can the noble system of government esta- 
blished by our fathers be administered by men like these ? 

You are told that your number so largely exceeds that of the foreign 
population that all apprehension of danger is idle. I do not mean to give 
offence to any man, but to speak in the sincerity of my heart, when I say 
that such an argument seems to me to estimate very humbly the under- 
standings of those to whom it is addressed. In the open, manly defence 
of your rights and liberties, of that glorious Constitution bequeathed to 
you by your fathers, of your homesteads and your households, — in the de- 
fence of these against an open and manly assault, you are competent to 
resist not only the foreigners among us, but a world in arms. God forbid 
that one American bosom should palpitate with craven fear in xiew of 




JOHN MACrilERSON DERRIEN. 95 

fiucli a conflict ! But this is not the danger which menaces. Every man 
unworthy of citizenship, who is admitted to its privileges, is an enemy in 
your camp, — ^a moral leper, spreading contagion far and wide. The 
morals of the community are corrupted, its heart is tainted, by such asso- 
ciation : for, however stained with crime, the stamp of citizens makes 
them politically a part of yourselves. Can you bear the amalgamation ? 

And why should you bear it ? Foreigners aided us in the Revolutionary 
struggle. Ay, and they have received their rewards. They became in- 
corporated among us, or have voluntarily gone elsewhere in quest of new 
adventure. But we invited immigration. Ay, at the close of our Revo- 
lutionary War, when amid its toils and privations we had achieved our in- 
dependence, we had a sparse and exhausted population and an extensive 
and uncultivated domain. We required an increase of population for the 
purpose of internal improvement and external defence; and, conforming 
to this policy, our system of naturalization was established. Europe was 
then calm, — at least free from the menace of intestine commotion. Party 
spirit among ourselves was comparatively quiescent. We invited foreign- 
ers, and we received them. They came to us in small numbers, mingled 
with our people, and peacefully pursued the avocations of industry. All 
this is changed. We have population sufficiently numerous for every 
present purpose, and without the aid of immigration we are increasing in 
number as rapidly as we could desire. Notwithstanding this, there is an 
annual outpouring upon us of the restless and unquiet spirits of Europe, 
its paupers and criminals. Not mingling with us as when their numbers 
were small, they are now sufficiently numerous to herd together, to live 
apart from us, to constitute distinct foreign societies in the midst of the 
native population. In the bitterness of our party contests, this foreign 
vote has been eagerly, and often by unworthy means, sought after and 
obtained, alternately, by both parties; and, acting as a unit, the boast of 
Kossuth has been realized : it holds the balance, and may decide our 
elections. 

This is a state of things not to be borne by American freemen. This 
foreign incursion must be regulated or checked; and the American party 
haa its origin in the conviction of this necessity. The very general exist- 
ence of this conviction has secured to them a support beyond the limits 
of their association. I concur with them in the belief that the laws regu- 
lating immigration and the naturalization of foreigners ought to be sub- 
jected to a thorough and searching revision ; that the term of probation 
should be largely extended; that, to protect us from the intrusion of pau- 
pers and criminals, provision ought to be made for the ascertainment, by 
our consuls abroad, of the character and condition of persons proposing to 
emigrate to the United States, and that every safeguard which the wisdom 
of Congress can devise should be thrown around the emendatory statute, 
to prevent and punish its evasion. 

1. As a further means of attaining their object, the individuals com- 
posing the American party have bound themselves by mutual pledges, 
each to the other, to unite their exertions for its accomplishment. I 
suppose such a pledge, either expressed or implied, is the tie which con- 
nects the members of every party. As to their organization, their ritual, 
their particular modes of proceeding and recognition, and the secrecy 
which has hitherto been observed in their proceedings, all of which have 
given occasion for so much eloquent and ingenious declamation and de- 
nunciation, I am not required to express an opinion, for these, it is un- 



96 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGU. 

derstood, have been abandoDed by their NatioDal Council, and all that is 
DOW required for admission into their order is the approval of their prin- 
ciples. One of these — that which announces their determination not to 
vote for or appoint Romanists to office — ^has been the subject of much re- 
prehension, and has been assailed as a violation of the liberty of con- 
science which is secured by the Constitution. The provisions of that in- 
strument, which are supposed to be violated, are contained in the con- 
cluding clause of the third section of the sixth article, and in the first 
clause of the first article of the amendments. The first, after providing 
for administering an oath to different public functionaries, contains the 
following provision : — 

But no religions test shall ever be required as a qualification for any oflSce or 
public trust under the United States. 

The second declares 

That Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or 
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. 

By what process of reasoning these provisions of the Constitution can 
be made to conflict with the right of the citizen to the unlimited exercise 
of his own free and uncontrolled will in the enjoyment of his elective 
franchise, I am utterly at a loss to discover ; and I have sought it in vain 
in such arguments of the objectors as I have had an opportunity of 
perusing. The first clause relates to persons elected to office, and requires 
that they shall have the oath of office administered to them without 
being subjected to any religious test. And this is the whole scope and 
effect of the act. It does not even remotely interfere with the right of 
an individual to exercise his own judgment in determining whether the 
religion of the candidate, or the want of it, ought or ought not to influ- 
ence him in casting his vote for or against him. This seems almost too 
plain for argument. If a voter believes the religion of a candidate to be 
unsound or dangerous to an extent which would induce distrust in the 
ordinary transactions of life, it is not only his right but his duty to with- 
hold his confidence and his vote. No provision of the Constitution 
forbids it, and duty to the country requires it. It would be wrong in the 
Government to make this test, because it is an exercise of discretion 
which the people have not intrusted to them, but have reserved to them- 
selves. Thus, that which would be wrong in the Grovernment is the right 
and duty of the citizen. How far this may apply to Homanists is a 
matter for the exercise of individual judgment, and for that alone. I 
would not feel that native American Romanists, trained in the principles 
of civil liberty, of reverence to the Constitution and laws, and devoted to 
the Union, would come within its scope. For the rest, to show that the 
view of the American party is sustained by a man of large intelligence 
and of undoubted piety, I subjoin the lellter of Mr. Wesley, — remarking 
only that the attempt to restrict his opinions to the particular state of 
affairs existing at the time when his letter was written is simply §itile, 
since it is perfectly obvious that they are of enduring applicability, — at 
least until Romanists shall abandon those precepts of their religion to 
which Mr. Wesley refers : — 

LETTER OF JOHX WESLEY. 

Sir: — Some time ago a pamphlet was sent me, entitled '*An Appeal from the 
Protestant Association to the People of Great Britain." A day or two since, a kind 
of answer to this was put into my hand, which pronounces its style contemptible, 



JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIEN. 97 

its reasoning futile, and its object malicious. On the contrary, I think the stylo 
of it is clear, easy, and natural ; the reasoning, in general, strong and conclusiYe ; 
the object or design kind and benevolent. And, in pursuance of the same kind and 
benevolent design, — namely, to preserve our happy Constitution, — I shall endeavor 
to confirm the substance of that tract by a few plain arguments. 

With persecution I have nothing to do: I persecute no man for his religious 
principles. Let there be as boundless freedom in religion as any man can conceive. 
But this does not touch the point. I will set religion, true or false, utterly out of 
the question. Suppose the Bible, if you please, to be a fable, and the Koran to be 
the word of God. I consider not whether the Romish religion is true or false, — 
build nothing on the one or the other supposition. Therefore away with all your 
eommonplace declamation about intolerance and persecution for religion ! Suppose 
every word of Pope Pius's creed to be true : suppose the Council of Trent to have 
been infallible : yet I insist upon it that no Government not Roman Catholic ought 
to tolerate men of the Roman Catholic persuasion. 

I prove this by a plain argument, (let him answer it that can:^ that no Roman 
Catholic does or can give security for his allegiance or peaceable benavior. I prove 
it thus : — It is a Roman Catholic maxim, established not by private men, but by 
public council, that " no faith is to be kept with heretics." That has been openly 
avowed by the Council of Constance, but it has never been openly disclaimed. 
Whether private persons avow or disavow it, it is a fixed maxim of the Church of 
Rome. But, as long as it is so, nothing can be more plain than that the members 
of that Church can give no reasonable security to any Government for their alle- 
giance and peaceable behavior. Therefore they ought not to be tolerated by any 
Government, Protestant, Mohammedan, or Pagan. You say, "Nay, but they take 
the oath of allegiance." True, — five hundred oaths : but the maxim " no faith is to 
be kept with heretics" sweeps them all away as a spider's web. So that stUl no 
Governments that are not Roman Catholic can have any security of their allegiance. 

Agun : those who acknowledge the spiritual power of the Pope can give no 
security of their allegiance to any Government : but all Roman Catholics acknow- 
ledge this ; therefore they can give no security for their allegiance. The power of 
granting pardons for all sins past, present, and to come, is and has been for many 
centuries one branch of his spiritual power. But those who acknowledge him to 
have their spiritual power can give no security for their allegiance, since they 
believe the Pope can pardon rebellion, high-treason, and all other sins whatso- 
ever. The power of dispensing with any promise, oath, or vow, is another branch 
of the spiritual power of the Pope : all who acknowledge his spiritual power must 
acknowledge this. But whoever acknowledges the dispensing power of the Pope 
can give no security for his allegiance to any Government. Oaths and promises arc 
none ; they are as light as air : a dispensation makes them null and void. Nay, 
not only the Pope, but even a priest, has power to pardon sins ! This is an essential 
doctrine of the Church of Rome. But they that acknowledge this cannot possibly 
give any security for their allegiance to any Government. Oaths are no security 
at all, for the priest can pardon both perjury and high-treason. Setting their 
religion aside, it is plain that upon principles of reason no Government ought to 
tolerate men who cannot give any security to that Government for their allegiance 
and peaceable behavior. But this no Romanist can do, not only while he holds 
that **no faith is to be kept with heretics," but so long as he acknowledges either 
prieetly absolution or the spiritual power of the Pope. 

If any one pleases to answer this, and set his name, I shall probably reply. But 
the productions of anonymous writers I do not promise to take any notice of. 

I am, sir, your humble servant, 

John Wkslbt. 

CiTT Road, January 12, 1780. 

The whole force of the second provision is spent in the prohibition to 
Congress, It forbids Congress to *' make any law respecting an establish- 
ment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It does not 
forbid individuals to make such establishments. On the contrary, we 
have many of them. It relates to the legislation of Congress, not to the 
vote of the citizen ^ and the foreign zeal which would distort these pro- 
visions of the Constitution so as to divest the citizen of the uncontrolled 

Vol. L— 7 




98 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

exercise of his elective franchise is, as it seems to me, alike alien from 
the Constitution and the plainest dictates of reason. 

The twelfth article of the Philadelphia Platform has been the snbject 
of much commentary. I state, without discussing them, mjown opinioDS 
on the subject of which it treats. 

I recognise the impracticability, from whatever cause, of reconciling 
the conflicting opinions which exist on the subject of slavery, and the 
danger of agitating that question in the National Legislature. I am 
content that the American party shall in good faith hold themselves 
bound to abide by and maintain the existing laws on the subject, and 
with their declaration that Congress has no power to interfere with slavery 
in the States where it exists, or to refuse the admission of any State 
because its Constitution does or does not recognise slavery as a part of its 
:K>cial system. I hold that the Territories of the United States are the 
property, not of Congress, but of the whole people of the United States, 
until such Territories become States. I do not believe that Congress has 
the power to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, apart from the 
contract with Maryland, or considerations of public faith ; but, as Congress 
has no Constitutional power to violate a solemn contract or to commit a 
breach of national faith^ I think they are equally precluded by these con- 
Hiderations. 

These are my opinions on the questions presented to me. I desire to 
add a brief remark on another subject. 

The several parties in this State have all planted themselves on the 
fourth resolution of the Gleor^a Convention of 1850, and the interpretation 
given to it by some persons is that, upon the happening of either of the 
contingencies specified in it, Georgia is to prepare for an immediate '' dis- 
ruption of the Union." I do not so understand it. I think it could not 
have been so understood by its framers. I am sure that this is not the 
fair import of its terms, and still more confident that such is not the 
feeling of the people of Georgia. 

In the specified contingencies, Georgia pledges herself to resist, " even, 
as a last resort," to the disruption of the Union. The term last is a relative 
term. It necessarily implies some preceding action, — some honest, well- 
meant patriotic efforts to secure your rights, without the necessity of 
having recourse to this last fearful resort, the disruption of the Union. 
I implore my countrymen to give to this subject their earnest, anxious 
consideration, — not to be diverted from it by the declamation of political 
aspirants, the agitations of the canvass, or the excitement of the hustings, 
but calmly, quietly, in the retirement of their own homes, to consider 
what it is to which this controversy is tending, and, humbly supplicating 
that Almighty Being, under whose protecting providence our fathers laid 
the foundation of this great Hcpublic, to imbue us with the same con- 
ciliatory spirit by which they were animated, to seek under his benefi- 
cent guidance the solution of the problem which shall reconcile Southern 
rights with the perpetuity of the Union. 

Respectfully, your fellow-citizen, 

Jno. Macpherson Berrien. 

In December, 1855, the American party held a Convention at 
Milledgeville, of which Judge Berrien was unanimously chosen 
President. His remarks on taking the chair were brief, admittmg 
that a sense of duty and a desire to aid in the good work for which 



JOHN • MACPHERSON BBRRIBN. 99 

the Convention had assembled alone induced him, in infirm health, 
to take part in its deliberations, or to accept the chair which had 
been so kindly tendered him. This was his last public appearance. 
On his return to Savannah his illness continued to increase, to the 
great alarm of his family. The best medical skill which the city 
afforded (equal to any in the South) was invoked to relieve the 
sufferer. His disease (inflammation of the kidneys) yielded to no 
treatment ; and, on the morning of January 1, 1856, Judge Berrien 
breathed his last, at the age of seventy-five years. His dying hours 
were those of peace with God and with all mankind. 

The intelligence of the death of Judge Berrien spread gloom 
in every quarter. The citizens of Savannah mourned as if each 
had lost a friend. Testimonials of respect were adopted by the 
City Councils, the City Bar, the Bar of the Supreme Court, and 
by the Georgia Historical Society, — of which he was President. 
The press, also, without regard to party distinctions, did justice 
to his exalted character and faithful public services. 

The domestic relations of Judge Berrien have not been hitherto 
mentioned in this memoir. On the Ist of December, 1803, he 
intermarried with Miss Eliza Anciaux, daughter of Major Nicholas 
Anciauz, an officer in the American army of the Revolution, who 
after the termination of the war had settled in Georgia. Nine 
children were the fruit of this marriage, of whom five survived 
him. In 1828, Mrs. Berrien died. He lived a widower five years, 
until July, 1833, when he married Miss Eliza C. Hunter, daughter 
of Col. James Hunter, of Savannah. Six children were the issue 
of this second marriage, all of whom lived to mourn the loss of 
the best of fathers. The second Mrs. Berrien died in February, 
1852. 

The fame of Judge Berrien has been handsomely acknowledged 
by the Legislature, — a majority of whose members in each branch 
was opposed to him politically. The fact is no less honorable to 
the living than it is to the memory of the dead. 

In the Fortieth Annual Report of the American Bible Society, 
in the city of New York, presented May 8, 1856, the following 
reference is made to Judge Berrien : — 

Hon. John Macpberson Berrien was elected a Vice-President of this 
Society in 1844, and always manifested strong attachment to the Bible 
and great interest in its circulation. At different times, and while occu- 
pying very high posts in the government of his country, he was often 
heard eloquently advocating the claims of the Bible, in behalf of which 
he was ever ready to raise his voice. By the death of Judge Berrien 



100 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBQIA. 

the Society has been deprived of the services and support of a warm 
and devoted friend. 

It only remains to notice the personal qualities of the departed 
statesman as they appeared in his character. To what has al- 
ready been said of him as a jurist profound in constitutional lore 
may be added that, in 1826, he opposed the recommendation of 
President Adams to send a minister to the Congress of Nations 
at Panama, — Mr. Berrien contending that the power to appoint 
judges, ambassadors, &c. did not give the President power to 
create the ofiBce, as would be the case in the proposed mission. 
Such was the various knowledge he brought to bear on the subject 
from the law of nations and from the peculiar structure of our 
government, that his argument has been incorporated in a work* 
intended to expound the Federal Constitution. While referring 
to the greatest men in the Senate of the United States, whose 
opinions had most weight, the author was, several years ago, 
informed by a very gifted ex-Senatorf from Alabama that, on 
questions involving constitutional principles. Judge Berrien was 
decidedly the ablest debater in the Senate. 

One incident in the life of Judge Berrien deserves observation, 
though it pertained neither to law nor politics. In October, 1844, 
a Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United 
States was held at Philadelphia, to which the Rev. Francis L. 
Hawks had been returned for consecration as Bishop-elect of 
the diocese of Mississippi. He had formerly been rector of St. 
Thomas's Church, Broadway, New York, and, in building up a 
large female seminary at Flushing, under the auspices of the 
Church, had entered into contracts which left him largely in 
arrear, — the school not succeeding to his calculations. The mas- 
ter-builder to whom he was indebted preferred charges against 
him before the Convention, alleging bad faith, &c. Dr. Hawks 
gave a plain history of the case, and threw himself upon the 
judgment of the Convention. Mr. Berrien was a lay delegate to 
that body from the Church in Georgia, and took up the charges, 
article by article, and showed that nothing had been done by the 
bishop-elect that could impeach his integrity in a court of law, and 
that in the forum of conscience there was no stain of fraud or unfair- 
neftfl resting upon him. It was truly a scene which admitted pathos 
in the orator. The bishops, the clergy, the lay members, and the 

* 8ee Elliott's Debates, vol. iv. p. 601. 

f Hod, a. p. Bagby, U.S. Minister to Russia under the administration of 
Polk. 




JOHN MACPHERSON BEKRIEN. 101 

throng of spectators who listened to the soul-touching eloquence 
of the Georgia delegate, were dissolved in tears. He had a fit 
audience to respond to his noble impulses and Christian appeals. 
The gentleman whose conduct he was vindicating had been a dis- 
tinguished member* of the North Carolina bar, and a pupil of the 
great Judge Gaston. He was a man of extraordinary abilities, 
eloquence, and learning, which were as manifest in the pulpit for 
the good of souls as they had been in the temporal courts for the 
interest of his clients. Under the circumstances, however, the 
Convention postponed his consecration as bishop, and referred the 
matter back to the diocese of Mississippi. Dr. Hawks soon after- 
ward received a very advantageous oflFer in New Orleans, which 
he accepted, officiating for several years as rector of St. Paul's 
Church, Canal Street, and as President of the University of Loui- 
siana. He has since returned to the city of New York, with a 
prestige which cannot be shaken, and is now at the head of the 
American clergy for sustained eloquence and accurate learning. 
Such is the character of the divine to whose support Mr. Berrien 
came at a period of sorest trial. Dr. Hawks has had the degree 
of Doctor of Laws conferred upon bim, and Mr. Berrien was also 
honored with the same degree at Princeton, in 1830. 

As an act of justice to Dr. Hawks, as well as to the author him- 
self, it is deemed proper to quote from the Monitor of October 30, 
1844, (a paper then edited by the author,) so much of an article 
as refers to Dr. Hawks and the action of the Convention on the 
charges against him : — 

Oct. 14. Resolvedj Tbat, in the opiDioD of this House, the integrity 
of the Rev. Dr. Hawks has been sumcientiy proved by his reply to the 
charges brought against him in the memorials presented to this House. 

The first [above] resolution acquits the lie v. Francis L. Hawks, D.D.^ 
Bishop-elect of Mississippi, of the charge preferred against him by some 
creditor in New York, of a want of good faith in his pecuniary transac- 
tions in building expensive edifices at Flushing for a high seminary of 
learning. Dr. Hawks became involved in hopeless bankruptcy through 
his exertions to establish the school, which proved a failure. It is said 
that never since the days of Sheridan was such an overwhelming efiect 
produced on an audience as that of Dr. Hawks's speech before the Con- 
vention. His vindication was touching and triumphant. We rejoice at 
it. He is a native of Newbern, North Carolina. 

Of the religious character of Judge Berrien nothing more need 
be said than that he was for many years, and at the time of his 
death, a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and 



* Author of Hawks* s Reports. 



102 BENCH AND BAB OF GE0R6U. 

was the intimate friend of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Elliott, who was 
his spiritual adviser whenever pastoral functions were necessary in 
Savannah. His faith was calm, but fixed : there was nothing 
spasmodic in his religious enjoyments, nor did he ever fail to 
manifest by his example his reverence for the sanctuary. He 
trained up his children piously, and instructed them in the rudi- 
ments of the service, its forms and principles, as taught by the 
Church. When death approached, he met the summons like a 
philosopher and a Christian, full of courage and hope, leaning on 
the merits of that gracious Redeemer whose mission to earth and 
atonement for sin he had long testified before men. 

There is one view remaining, and candor must prevail over par- 
tiality. As to the social habits, the exterior of kindness, and the 
uniform decorum of his life, no objection can be alleged. These 
were such as a gentleman of his sensibility and pride of character 
would never cease to cultivate. To this extent. Judge Berrien 
was faultless. But in the field of ambition, where preferment was 
to be won, he demanded the service of his friends, and would 
admit no competition from that quarter. He was frank, even 
peremptory, in the assertion of his claims, and the least faltering 
was succeeded by coldness. From the time he first obtained office 
as Solicitor-General, in 1809, to his acceptance of the Attorney- 
Generalship of the United States, twenty years afterward, his 
career had been one of triumph. Judge of the Superior Courts 
for a number of terms. State Senator, then Senator of the United 
States, and then a member of the Cabinet, — in all of which places 
he sustained himself with dclat, — he was fully persuaded of his 
influence, and of the overshadowing foundation on which it rested, 
— his own merits. Yet he was not vain in the usual sense of the 
term. There was nothing in his manner that refused recognition 
to an equal. A rigid use of his opportunities for advancement 
was rarely omitted, and never, perhaps, on a single occasion, were 
they relaxed in behalf of a friend. There is sometimes a gene- 
rous sympathy for his fellow which draws a man back, that 
another may go forward on his own worth to the post of honor. 
Such a principle, however, is too abstract to be introduced among 
the verities of life, and no one ought to be bound by it. Whoever 
adheres to such a /aZ^ocy will seldom figure in public employments. 
The moral to be conveyed by this allusion may be entangled here- 
about, — hard to find ; but the author is unable to assist the reader 
in the search. It is in substance that Judge Berrien insisted upoa 




JOHN MACPHERSON BERRIBN. 103 

his rights when he might have acted otherwise. This is the most 
that can be said against him. 

In his deportment generally he was affable, yet somewhat re- 
served. He seems to have moulded his address after the Chester- 
field model, — elegant at all times, and never descending to a free 
and careless mood, — at least in mixed society, in which, only, it 
was the privilege of the author to see him. 

Judge Berrien was not a man of the people. He had none of 
the heartiness of Mr. Clay. He was too highly refined by his 
studies, and by the discipline of his genius to the ideal of perfec- 
tion, — as men ought to be, not as they are, — to feel a very earnest 
concern in the rough-and-tumble relations and contests of men, 
from which he stood as much aloof as possible, to seek happiness 
in a purer region, — his own thoughts. Not that he was destitute 
of sympathy or benevolence: his whole life negatived such an 
idea. But it was only when distress was made dramatic by in- 
tensity, or by the train of sufferings associated with it, — loss of 
reputation, the griefs of old age, the tears of childhood, the agony 
of bereavement, or the perils of life, — that the fountains of his 
heart became unsealed, and the sacred tide rushed in subduing 
torrents, giving to his voice on such occasions more than human 
potency in the court-room, or in whatever forum he appeared. 
Judge Berrien was the most finished orator of his day, so far as 
the rules of art contributed to form an orator. His organs of 
speech were perfect. Every word and every syllable had its 
proper stress and intonation. There was no slurring or haste in 
bis delivery. Smooth, grave, and musical, his voice satisfied the 
ear. Occasionally, it was like the church-organ in the depth and 
richness of its tones; then, with softest beauty, it would glide 
into the soul and take captive its emotions. Yet in all this opu- 
lence of effect there was evidently a preparation of the severest 
kind. It is said that the great tragedian Cooper gave lessons to 
Mr. Berrien in early life. If so, there was no impropriety. The 
orators of Great Britain in the days of Garrick and Kemble were 
glad to have private interviews with these autocrats of the stage 
for improvement in elocution. And Napoleon the Great was in- 
structed by Talma, the French tragedian, in the graces of attitude 
becoming the imperial dignity. 

But the task is done, — however imperfectly : this memoir must 
be closed. Georgia has furnished many distinguished sons, who 
have a proud national fame ; but in letters, in eloquence, in states- 
manship, in the high perfections of individual life, the name of 



104 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROU. 

Berrien will ever shine among the brightest on her escutcheon, 
lie was, indeed, a man whose equal, in many respects, the world 
has not produced since the days of Cicero. America has had her 
Henry, one of nature's thunderbolts, her Clay, of grand and 
surpassing gifts, to electrify the public by their soul-stirring elo- 
quence ; but neither of them had the polish of the Roman school, 
with its rich stores of learning and classic beauties gathered from 
every epoch and every clime. It was reserved for John Mac- 
PHERSON Berrien to stand alone as an example in the nineteenth 
century. 

Supreme Court o? Georgia, Savakhah, 
Janaary 14, 1856. 

At the opening of the court, Hon. William Law addressed the court 
as follows ; — 

May it please your Honors : — 

The melancholy duty has been assigned to me by ray brethren of the 
bar of announcing to this court the death of the Hon. John Macpherson 
Berrien, late the most distinguished member of that bar and its brightest 
ornament, and of presenting to the court the proceedings and resolutioos 
of the bar of this city upon the occurrence of that lamented event, expres- 
.sive of their appreciation of the character and high respect for the memory 
of their departed friend and brother, and also their sense of the great loss 
the profession has sustained by his death. 

Honored for more than forty years with the friendship of the deceased, 
commencing with my call to the bar over which he then presided with an 
honor to himself so distinguished and a benefit to the public so universally 
licknowledged, that even at that early period of his life he commanded, as 
a judge, the fulness of public confidence, and laid the foundation of that 
enviable fame which survives his descent to the grave. 

A friendship, sirs, thus early commenced, ripened into intimacy in the 
progress of life, was in no way and at no time more sensibly felt or gratefully 
appreciated than in the uniform and almost paternal kindness which he 
extended to my early professional efforts and struggles. Few knew him 
better than I did ; none honored and esteemed him more. I cannot re- 
frain on this occasion from an expression of my sincere gratification at the 
testimonial furnished by my brethren of the bar of their admiration for 
the character and distinguished merits of the deceased and of the high 
respect they entertain for his memory, nor from saying how much I appre- 
ciate their kindness in making me the honored instrument of bringing 
their proceedings to the notice of this court. 

But it is not limited to private friendship to sympathize with these pro- 
ceedings. The death of such a man is a public calamity. His talents 
and usefulness had not been confined to his own State. The fame of his 
wisdom and rare eloquence, issuing from the Senatorial hall of the nation, 
had spread over the country, and placed him, in the estimation of his 
countryman, among the great statesmen and legislators of the age. Hia 
death adds another name to that melancholy list of gigantic intellects and^ 
devoted patriots upon whom the icy hand of death has been laid in th9 
past few years, and calls afresh for the homage of a nation's respect and 
sorrow. 



^ 



JOHN MACPHEBSON BERBIEK. 105 

It is true that Judge Berrien was spared by a beneficent Providence to 
an advanced period of life far beyond that allotted to most men ; but he 
still retained, in a remarkable degree, the energy of physical strength and 
the vigor of undiminished intellect, combined with a spirited enjoyment 
of social intercourse. Nor yet had the fervor of his patriotism abated ; 
for he still felt a lively interest in his country's welfare upon all important 
political questions, and was to the last ready to lend the counsel of his 
experienced wisdom to what he conceived to be his country's good. Full 
of the learning of the law, he was still the eloquent advocate and the pro- 
found lawyer, and both the bench and the bar listened with pleasure and 
advantage to his instructive argument. 

But your Honors, who have so often heard him, and who knew him so 
well, I am sure, will appreciate the testimonials of his exalted worth and 
distinguished character furnished by the proceedings of the bar, which I 
have the honor now to present : — 

At a meeting of the bar, in the court-room in the city of Savannah, on tho 2d day 
of January inst., the Hon. William B. Fleming was appointed chairman, and Julian 
Hartridge, Esq., Solicitor-General of the Eastern Circuit, secretary. 

The Hon. William Law, the Hon. Charles S. Henry, the Hon. Edward J. Harden, 
the Hon. John £. Ward, and E. H. Bacon, Esq., were appointed a committee to pre- 
pare resolutions expressive of the feelings of the meeting on the melancholy occa- 
sion of the recent death of the Hon. John Macpherson Berrien, a member of 
the bar. 

Whereupon William Law, in behalf of the committee, presented the following 
preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by the meeting :— 

The diembers of the bar, desirous of giving pubUc expression to their feelings and 
of the sense they entertain of the loss which the bar has sustained by the death of 
its oldest and most distinguished member, who for more than half a century has 
illustrated the virtues of the profession, adorned it by the exhibition of rare and 
eminent talents, and left an example of spotless purity and integrity of life, and 
also to manifest the affectionate esteem in which they hold the memory of their 
venerated departed brother, as a citizen eminent for his patriotism and public ser- 
vices, as a statesman distinguished for talents and integrity, and as a man endeared 
to their affections as well by his private as public virtues, by the social qualities 
of the heart as well as by the vigor of his intellect, do adopt the following reso- 
lations : — 

1. Eetolvedf That the members of the bar here assembled have heard with deep 
regret of the death of the Hon. John M. Berrien, and that we sincerely condole with 
the members of his family on the occasion of the loss which they, in common with 
the community, have sustained. 

2. Retolvedf As a testimony of respect for the memory of the deceased, the bar 
will, in a body, attend his funeral. 

8. Retolvtdy As a further testimony of such respect, that his Honor, the Judge 
of the Superior Court of this county, be requested to have the staves of the court 
draped in mourning, and that the bar wear the usual badge of mourning for 
thirty days. 

4. Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be laid before the Supreme 
Court of Georgia at its next meeting in this place, with a request that that body 
enter these proceedings on their minutes and a(yourn for one day, as a token of 
respect for Uie memory of the deceased, and that the same proceedings be laid 
before the* Superior Court of this county at its next session, with a similar request 
of entry on its minutes and of adjournment for one week. 

6. Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the chairman of the meet- 
ing to carry the foregoing resolutions into effect, and also to select some suitable 
person to pronounce, at some proper time and place, a eulogy on the Jife and cha- 
racter of the deceased before the bar of Georgia. 

6. Resolved, That these proceedings be published in the several papers of this 
city, and that a copy of the same be furnished by the secretary to the family of the 
deceased. 

The chair appointed as a committee, under the fifth resolution, Hon. William Law, 



V 



106 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBQIA. 

Hon. C. S. Henry, Hon. John £. Ward, Hon. Edward J. Harden, and £. H. Baoon, 

Esq 

In accordance with these resolutions, I now move your Honois that this 
court adjourn for one day. 

Judge Lumpkin, in behalf of the court, responded as follows : — 

This court receives the proceedings of the bar in regard to the late 
Hon. John Macpherson Berrien with profound emotion. We cordially 
unite with the bar and the people of the whole State in the expression of 
deep regret for his death, in admiration of his talents, his patriotism and 
private virtues. 

This is not the occasion, nor is it fit for me, to consider and discuss at 
length the character and merits of the deceased. The performance of 
that duty, with which the bar of this place has appropriately charged 
itself, must be deferred to another opportunity, and has been or will be 
committed to abler hands. And this is right. This community, who 
knew his manner of life from his youth up, saw him face to face for fifty 
years and more in the able and faithful performance of his various duties; 
and it is for them to appreciate fully all his worth, and to dwell with 
melancholy affection upon his transcendent excellencies. 

But the whole State has sustained an irreparable loss. Who in Georgia 
had attained to his full stature ? As a lawyer and a citizen, who will dispute 
with him the premiership ? What completeness and harmony of organiza- 
tion of the mental, moral, and physical nature ! He aimed at noble ends, 
and pursued them by none other than honorable means. Whatever he 
attempted he did well. Nothing half done ever came from his hands; 
for, uncommon as were his great abilities, his industry was still more 
extraordinary. 

Who can estimate the impulse and advance which he gave to the cause 
of legal learning in this city and circuit and throughout the land? 
Beference has been made to his service in the Councils of the nation. 
Permit me to say, upon competent authority, that his Constitutional argu- 
ments in the Senate of the United States were exhaustive of the subjects 
which he discussed, and that, on such occasions, no member was deferred 
to more in that body. His logic was the clearness of the perfect day, 
approaching the certainty of mathematical demonstration. 

Judge Berrien was a striking example of the love of the law, — supposed 
by many not to be altogether lovely; and his attachment, instead of 
waning, seemed to wax warmer and warmer under the pressure of super- 
added years. Hence his brilliant and triumphant success. He had many 
cotemporaries at the Supreme Court bar of the Union, — Johnson, of 
Maryland, Badger, of North Carolina, Crittenden, of Kentucky, and such 
like ; but yet wo may say that, while thinking of these gifted men, we 
feel new and increased pride in the consummate lawyer whom we have 
lost. Had he been placed on the bench of that court, for the headship 
of which he was so pre-eminently qualified, his judicial fame would have 
been measured by that of Mansfield, and Eldon, and Stowell, of England, 
and Marshall, and Kent, and Story, in this country. 

But our father and friend has gone. He has taken his place higher in 
the same firmament whence beam the milder glories of the beloved and 
lamented Charlton. His race is run. His course is finished. For him 
earth has no longer any future. He is beyond change, — ^beyond chance. 
His home is heaven. 

Is it not well with him'/ Ho died happy, in the bosom of his family. 



JOHN MACPHEBSON BERRIBN. 107 

full of years and full of honors. His bright sun has set. Far above us 
he dwells, in a world where there is no night ! 

The last time I saw Judge Berrien was under my own roof, — the sun- 
shine of the festive circle, and seeming *' to breathe a second spring." 
But we shall see him no more in the flesh. How difficult to realize this 
sad truth ! Seek him at the domestic hearth, the office, the court-room, 
the Cabinet-council, the Senate-Chamber, the sanctuary, and the solemn 
response from each is, '^ He is not here : he is risen." 

We shall never again witness the illumination of that countenance, 
which, when lighted in the glow of his mind, was almost supernatural. 
We shall no more listen to the silvery eloquence of those lips, " upon 
which the bees of Hybla might have rested." 

But we forbear. The theme is exhaustless. That a deep feeling of 
sorrow should be entertained, when one thus ^ii^uous and accomplished 
is stricken down by death, is natural ; and that an expression of these 
feelings and a just tribute of regard for the deceased should be preserved 
on the records of this court, of which he was so distinguished an orna- 
ment, is most meet and proper. We therefore order the resolutions to 
be entered of record, and that the court do adjourn for the day. 

Resolutions of the Georgia Legislature concerning the death of ike 

Hon, John Macpherson Berrien, 

Whereas, In the death of the Hon. John Macpherson Berrien, Georgia 
has sustained a loss of no ordinary magnitude, — the loss of one of her 
most gifted sons, — one eminent alike for all the graces that adorn private 
worth and the excellencies that exalt public station, and of whose dis- 
tinguished services during half a century every Georgian may justly feel 
proud, — it is meet that we should make some record of the deep sense 
we entertain of this touching bereavement : Be it therefore 

Resolved, That we have heard with the deepest regret of the death of 
the Hon. John Macpherson Berrien, whose talents while living reflected 
honor on his State and country, and the memory of whose services, now 
dead, will be traced in one of the brightest pages of their history. 

Resolved, That while the pre-eminent public services of the deceased — 
his career at the bar, on the bench, in the Cabinet and the Senate — have 
given a lustre to his name too well earned and wide-spread to be confined 
within tl\e limits of this State, Georgia mourns the loss of her illustrious 
sou with a sadness which is peculiarly her own. 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to forward a 
copy of these proceedings to the family of the deceased. 

William H. Stiles, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
David J. Bailey, 

President of the Senate. 
Approved Feb. 18, 1856. 
Herschel v. Johnson, 

Governor, 

As an enduring memorial, — one that will exist while Georgia 
retains her organization as a sovereign State, — the Legislature, by 
Act of February 25, 1856, created a new county from portions of 
Lowndes, Irwin, and Coffee, and gave it the name of "Berrien/' 



108 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

in honor of the great man to whose memory the j)Oor contribution 
in this volume has been made by the author, with profound respect. 



NOTE TO THE MEMOIR OF JUDGE BERRIEN. 

Not only the citizens of Savannah, but the public at large, no 
doubt, feel an interest in the matter touched upon by the Savannah 
Journal^ as follows : — 

WHO SUNK THE WRECKS IN SAVANNAH RIVER? 

In the course of the debate in the Senate on the 13th February , 1856, 
a warm discussion arose touching the historical truth of the fact recited 
in the original Appropriation Bill for Savannah River, members of the 
Finance Committee contending that the wrecks were placed in the river, 
not by the American forces for the "common defence," but by the 
British to prevent the French from coming up the river, — a point upon 
which Senator Butler, of South Carolina, spoke as follows : — 

Mb. President: — I have had my attention drawn to this subject more than onoe. 
I recollect that on one occasion Mr. Berrien, of Georgia, on this floor certainly gare 
me to understand, and I think gave the Senate to understand, a very different 
statement of things from that which has been to-day presented to the Senate. He 
stated what I always understood to be the historical fact in relation to the obstructicms 
in the Savannah River. My State, I confess, is deeply interested in their removal; 
but that fact would not change my opinion with regard to the Constitutional power 
of Congress to appropriate money to clean out rivers. 

I recollect distinctly the ground on which this appropriation has been heretofore 
placed, or at least the ground on which I was reconciled perhaps to make some 
appropriation. In 1778, Robert Uowe, the American general, a North Carolinian 
or a Virginian, was in possession of Savannah. Campbell was the commander of 
the British forces who attacked Howe and drove him from Savannah, under a 
capitulation, I think, on Christmas day in 1778. I have always understood that 
the British garrison kept possession of Savannah from that period until the time 
when it was threatened by D*£staing, and then ships were sunk at the mouth of the 
Savannah River by the British garrison, to prevent the French fleet from coming 
up. It was a war-measure adopted by the British and American Goyemments 
when they were alternately in possession of Savannah ; and I think, when the true 
facts are ascertained, it will be found that both the officer representing the Ameri- 
can Government and the officer representing tho British Government sunk ships at 
the mouth of that river for the same purpose, — to protect the city of Savannah. 

However that point may be, I can see a great difference between an appropriation 
for removing these hulks and the incidental obstructions occasioned by them, and 
one for regulating conunerce by cutting ditches and canals or opening rivers. I 
recollect that on former occasions the bill making appropriations to remove these 
hulks underwent discussion, and the ground was distinctly taken that when the 
Government of the United States used the property of a State or individual for 
general purposes, for the common defence, it was bound, under the obligations of 
honor and good faith, to make compensation for the use of the property. At the 
period of the Revolution the Savannah River was, as it is now, a great highway 
of commerce. If our own Government, as one of the means of defending the city 
of Savannah, sunk ships there, and thus appropriated that highway for its own 
purposes, as one of the means of carrying on war with Great Britain, I could vote 
for appropriations to remove them, on the ground that when property has been 
taken for the public use we have made appropriations for it. When, as in the 
Revolution, private property was used for public purposes, — as the ocoupation of a 
house as a place of defence, — compensation has been allowed. The principle has 
been recognised in a general act; and so, also, when American property was 
destroyed or injured while in the occupation of the enemy, and destroyed by Wash- 




JOHN MACPHERSON BSRRIEK. 109 

ington's cannon, as in the same case in Germantown, compensation had been made 
on the broad ground that, when flagrante bello during a state of actual war, property 
had been used for public purposes, and was destroyed in consequence of such use, 
the Goyemment was bound to allow compensation. In regard to the ships sunk 
in the Savannah River, I have always understood that they were placed there both 
by the British and American Governments, as a means of defending Savannah when 
they were alternately in possession of that city. 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. 

Our thanks are due the Hon. Alfred Iverson for the Report of the 
Secretary of War, 1855-56, with accompanying documents. The follow- 
ing extracts will prove interesting to our readers : — 

Rexovino Obst&uctions in the Savannah RrvsB, at a place called The 
W&ECKS. — Since September 80, 1844, the pile- work closing the upper end of Fig 
Island channel has been completed, and an embankment of niodcrate extent placed 
along the foot of the piles as a protection against the washing of a rapid ebb-current. 
This work now serves to turn the volume of water which formerly passed through 
the Fig Island channel to the Front River. The increased volume and velocity thus 
given to the water flowing down the latter channel tends to givo permanence to 
the greater depth which has been obtained by dredging over the Wreck bank and 
along the southern edges of Garden bank. The greater part of the funds expended 
in the prosecution of this work of improvement, during the past year, has been 
Bupplied by the city of Savannah, as the appropriation of $40,000, approved 
August 80, 1852, had been previously expended, with the exception of a small 
balance, in working the dredging-machines. The total number of cubic yards 
dredged from the shoals in the channel of Front River, since the commencement 
of this work of improvement, is 102,500 cubic yards, giving a channel full ten feet 
deep at mean low-water, or sixteen and a half feet at mean high-water. To make 
this channel permanent, however, it is essential that the deflecting works proposed 
by the commission at the upper end of Hutchinson*s Island, and at the lower end 
of Fig Island, should be constructed at an early day. But as the appropriation of 
$161,000 for the Savannah River, approved March 8, 1854, is specific, it can, in 
its present form, be applied only to the removal of the obstructions placed in the 
river during the Revolutionary War for the common defence, and the accumulations 
of sand and mud immediately over and around these obstructions or wrecks. In 
order that these flats and shoals, which have been caused by these sunken wrecks 
at other points of the Front River, may be removed, and in a permanent manner, I 
would most earnestly advise the Department to urge upon Congress such a modi- 
fication of the phraseology of the act of 3d of March last as will make the amount 
applicable to the completion of the plan reported by the Commissioners and 
approved by the War Department in 1853. 

The 6th of August last, the work of dredging was resumed on the Wreck bank, 
and has been prosecuted with as much regularity since as the weather would 
permit. The dredge-boat, tug-boat, and scows employed at this work were char- 
tered from the former contractor to execute work by the cubic yard for the period 
of six months ; but experience has now demonstrated that the chartered machinery 
is too weak to dredge on the wrecks to the same advantage as a machine of greater 
power. It is therefore advised that steps be taken to procure a dredge or elevating^ 
machine of greater power, to be employed on the wrecks after the expiration of the 
charter now existing, provided the restrictive character of the act of appropriation 
be removed by further legislative action. 

SravsY or the biveb Ockmuloeb, Ga. — The survey is completed. The map is 
finished, but is still in the hands of Uie draughtsman, whose work has been much 
hindered by sickness. As soon as the map is received the report will be prepared 
and forwarded. 



IV. 

EDWARD J. BLACK 

This gentleman is entitled to a high place in public estimation, 
as his brief history will prove. He had qualities which made him 
felt and appreciated wherever he was known. His record is 
without blemish, and may be summed up on good authority. 

In reply to a letter from the author, a gentleman* of Augusta 
courteously furnished some interesting passages : — 

Mr. Black was a schoolmate of mine, and received almost his entire 
education at the RichmoDd Academy in this place. He never was much 
of a student; but his ambition , which was great, would doubtless have 
led him to steady application had it not been for his frail health. When 
about twenty-one years of age, he was attacked with hemorrhage of the 
lungs, to which he was ever after occasionally subject. As his mother 
had died of consumption, he expected the same fate as the issue of his 
disease ; and this tended much to weaken his energy and cast a gloom 
over his future prospects. 

The principal lawyers in the circuit where Mr. Black practised were 
Messrs. Flournoy, Reid, (his uncle,) Crawford, Jenkins, Cummings, Wil- 
liam and John Schley. 

His taste was for letters rather than science. From his want of re- 
gular study, he was not profound, but on occasions was very brilliant 
He was fond of poetry, and wrote verses of very decided poetic merit 
He excelled in the humorous ; and some of his early effusions, published 
Id the Constitutionalist over the signature of '' Quip, Crank & Co.," are 
quite creditable productions, and were well received here. In his speeches 
he often indulged in witty sarcasm, and was quite a formidable antagonist. 
If his opponent gave any openiag for ridicule, he geaerally seized upon 
it and showed him up without much mercy. 

The same gentleman procured from a sister of Mr. Black a 
statement which answers the questions propounded by the author. 
It is here given without abridgment, though perhaps it was intended 
rather as suggestive than otherwise : — 

I. Edward J. Black was bom in Beaufort district, South Carolina, 
in the year 1806. His father's name was William Black, a native also 
of the same district, and a gentleman of fortune, but lost a portion of it 
by an unfortunate security-debt, and in consequence, for economy's sake, 
moved his family and planting-interest to Barnwell district, where Ed- 
ward J. Black remained until about eight years old. Being a boy of 

"^ 

* Dr. Ignatias P. Garyin. 
110 



k 



EDWARD J. BLACK. Ill 

unusual talents, the late Got. Reid, his mother's brother, took him home 
with him to Augusta, placed him at the Key. Mr. Brantley's school, directed 
his studies, and, no doubt, daily strengthened his natural taste for litera- 
ture. He never went to college, and laughed at the idea of a nominal 
college education, but read and searched out every thing for himself, 
feeling that more depended on his own research than the august reputa- 
tion of college professors. It may be said he was educated in Augusta ; 
for, though not a very strict attendant at school, it was there his appre- 
hension of letters, men and measures, strong intellect, great power of 
thinking quickly, perceiving the right and wrong of any question, were 
developed. I have often heard him say he was indebtea to his fond 
mother for his early ideas of oratory, botany, habits of reading, &c. He 
esteemed her the unparalleled of her sex in natural talent, education, 
accomplishments, and personal appearance. She was indeed a noble 
woman ; and her piety sustained her in her many trials of life, which was 
only extended to thirty-two years. 

2. He read law under Judge Reid, was admitted to the bar at the age 
of twenty-one years, (in 1827,) and practised a short time in Augusta in 
company with Judge Reid. A few years after, he married Miss Kirk- 
land, a lady of fine sense, beauty, and wealth, of Barnwell, and then 
settled in Scriven county, lived on his plantation, devoting himself to his 
family, studies, planting, politics, and the practice of law. He was a 
very domestic man, and, although so fitted for society and the world, he 
never loved its glare and bustle, and always shrank from the multitude. 
A tea or dinner party, where each one was to measure his words, study 
attitude, or dress as a narrow-minded tailor might dictate, was his aversion. 
But place him in his own drawing-room, or anywhere else where he 
dared be natural or sensible, and then you would see what he was. No 
one, on those occasions, failed to be charmed by his good-humor, wit, and 
guety. 

3. He obtained a great deal of practice, and was a hard student at 
times, — not always : his health would not admit of constant study ; but 
he could see through a case, seize the best points of it, and know how to 
manage it, while other men would be wondering what was best to be done. 

4. His style was any thing the occasion called for, — difiiise or compact, 
as the case required. His language was easy and eloquent, always to the 
point. On the spur of the moment he made as good a speech as if he 
had had a week to consider. His anecdotes and stories were always told 
io his peculiarly original and laughable manner. When well, his spirits 
were light and buoyant, full of hope. He was entertaining to the young 
and the old, to the ignorant and the learned. He avoided all display or 
manner that would make an ignorant man feel his own inferiority ; and to 
the honest poor he was ever a warm friend. .On the other hand, he could 
be grave, and sombre, and thoughtful, with a heart always open to the 
distress of others and never neglecting the unfortunate. 

5. He died in 1849, at the residence of Mr. G. Robinson, (Mrs. Black's 
grandfather,) in Barnwell district, whither he had gone for a change of 
scene. He lived but three weeks after his arrival there ; and, notwith- 
standing the tender care of his family, his sufferings were intense, — and he 
endured them weU, though at times so desponding the mental darkness 
was scarcely endurable. But when reaction would come he would be as 
bright and patient as ever. His love and tenderness for his family was 
absorbing. He would follow them with loving eyes ; and the thought of 



I 



112 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

leaviog them so soon to contend alone with the trials of life filled hb 
heart with regret. But from the first he knew he must die. He there- 
fore arranged his temporal matters, and committed his soul and body to 
his heavenly Father, feeling that he had made his peace with God and 
man, patiently awaited his final hour, which was passed without one 
struggle ; and so easily did he pass from time into eternity that his family, 
who surrounded him, knew not the moment of the spirit's flight. 

With regard to his intellect, disposition, and manner, I could say much ; 
hut the public know as much about that as I do. His intellect was clear. 
He perceived quickly and understood thoroughly. He had a genius for 
every thing, — music as well as politics, — and, with his power of mimiciyi 
would have made as good an actor as orator. His disposition was kind. 
He never took advantage of the weak ; but he never spared an enemy of 
power. At home, in his family, he was all love and good-humor, taking 
every thing just as it happened. But in the court-house, in the House 
of Kcprcscntatives, or elsewhere in public, he always maintained his 
opinions with spirit, and, if requisite, a little touch of sarcasm was at his 
command. He was independent in his feelings and actions, and, once 
ri{fht, he defied the world. Policy was not his ruling principle. His 
manner was easy, and a natural polish marked his manly bearing. He 
was not a slave to habits or customs, but, with his native politeness^ acted 
on every occasion as his own good judgment dictated. 

The public life of Mr. Black commenced in 1829, when he was 
elected a Representative in the Legislature from Richmond countj, 
and was re-elected in 1830. He at once became prominent as a 
debater, and was heard with great satisfaction on the floor and in 
the galleries. His praise as a witty, animated, graceful speaker 
was sounded in every quarter. The author saw him for the first 
time at the session of 1830, when Mr. Black signalized himself by 
a course of bitter opposition to Franklin College. The Journal of 
the House (p. 108) contains this entry, under date of November 2, 
1830 :— 

Mr. Black, agreeably to notice, moved for the appointment of a com- 
mittee to prepare and report a bill to remove the site of Franklin College 
from Athens to Milledgeville, and to appropriate money for the erection of 
suitable buildings for that purpose, and to appoint fit and proper persons 
for designating the spot upon which said buddings shall De erected, and 
for superintending the erection of the same. 

Ordered, That Messrs. Black, Dougherty, and Howard of Baldwin, be 
that committee. 

For what particular reason he agitated this measure, or what 
good he expected to accomplish by it, the author is not prepared to 
say. He remembers to have heard Mr. Black, while discussing 
some question in the House, make very light of the scholarship of 
the university, stating that he had received " Bucket letters" from 
the students, with such poor spelling as to render it a sufficient cause 
for him to turn off" his overseer had he perpetrated such inaccuracy 



EDWARD J. BLACK. 113 

in a note relative to his plantation. He was quite morry and se- 
vere on the subject, causing much laughter, — mostly, however, at 
his own expense in appearing to think that the students had ex- 
pended all their ability and intelligence in framing those letters^ 
when in truth their only object was to annoy him for some indig- 
nity he had offered them as a class, and to disguise their style so 
as to prevent detection. Possibly he supposed that, by having the 
college under the immediate inspection of the Legislature, a higher 
tone in letters and in morals might be infused by social contact with 
the members of that body. Mr. Black was then only twenty-four 
years old, and may have indulged this theory, — which further ex- 
perience, no doubt, led him to abandon. From a hasty examina- 
tion of the journal, no evidence is seen that the bill was ever re- 
ported by the committee proposing to discontinue the college at 
Athens and rear it up again at the seat of government. Mr. 
Speaker Hull, who was always vigilant and fair, so arranged the 
committee as to represent both localities. Judge Dougherty was 
of Athens, and Major Howard of Milledgeville, whilst Mr. Black 
was between, fighting as earnestly as a certain Spanish cavalier 
who drove his lance into a machine described by Cervantes, which 
threw rider and horse both prostrate without material damage to 
the machine. It is probable that when the committee met for con- 
sultation the majority voted down the project, and thus left the 
originator powerless, as he could not introduce his bill except 
through a committee. With all due respect for Mr. Black and 
his motives, it is a matter of gratulation that he failed to disturb 
the college, which continues to hold up its head on the beautiful 
elevation at Athens, whilst some of its jolly inmates still write 
" bucket letters" to such persons as they believe will profit by that 
kind of correspondence. 

Mr. Black was a candidate for Attorney-General in 1831, and 
was defeated by one vote. The ballot stood — C. J. Jenkins, 108 ; 
£. J. Black, 105 ; scattering, 2. 

It is not necessary to follow up the interval from 1830, showing 
what courts Mr. Black attended, in what important cases he ap- 
peared as counsel, or what articles he wrote for the newspapers, or 
what speeches he made in support of the Whig party, until his 
election to Congress in 1838. It suffices to say that, in 1840, he, 
with two of his colleagues (Messrs. Colquitt and Cooper) of the 
House of Kepresentatives, divided from the remaining delegation 
from Georgia by refusing to support Gen. Harrison for the Prefli- 

VOL. I.— S 



114 BENCH AND BAR OF QEORGIA. 

dency. His course was ratified by his constituents, as the follow- 
ing document will show : — 

Georgia. — By Charles J. McDonald, Governor of said State. 
To the Honorable Edward J. Black, Esq., greeting : — 

Whereas, by the second section of the first article of the Constitation 
of the United States, it is ordained and established that the House of 
Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year 
by the people of the several States : and whereas, by the returns made 
agreeably to law, of the election held on the first Monday in October last 
for eight members to represent this State in the House of Representatives 
of the Congress of the United States for two years from and after the 
third day of March next, you, the said Edward J. Black, were duly elected 
one of the said Representatives : These are therefore to commission you, the 
said Edward J. Black, to take session in the House of Representatives of 
the United States for two years from and after the third day of March 
next as aforesaid, and to use and exercise all and every the privileges and 
powers which of right you may or can do by virtue of the said Constitu- 
tion, in behalf of this State. 

Given under my hand and the great seal of the State, at the Capitol in 
Milledgcville, this twelfth day of November, in the year eighteen hundred 
and forty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the sixty- 
seventh. 

By the Governor : Charles J. McDonald. 

J. W. A. Sanford, 

Secretary of State. 

Such a testimonial, granted three times in succession, is no small 
honor to any man ; for Mr. Black was six years a member of Con- 
gress, — from 1839 to 1845. He made several speeches there, which 
gave him a high reputation in debate and for elegant scholarship. 
His diction partook of the purity of Wilde, with a good deal of his 
elevation of sentiment, and of the causticity of Randolph when im- 
paling an adversary. The comparison is not intended as perfect, 
but merely to denote qualities more or less developed. Mr. Black 
was unquestionably a man of genius, and as such deserves to have 
credit with posterity. 

His nature was impulsive, his organization acute. He felt a pas- 
sion for excellence, and took proper models in history for his guide. 
He lived to see much of the world, — much that wealth and posi- 
tion could alone command. His imagination was too prolific and his 
taste too severely disciplined to be content with the attainable. He 
looked for the sublime in the intellect and the affections which is not 
permitted toman. What generous heart does not sympathiie with 
the longings of his soul, and who that ha^ experience cannot bear 
witness to the illusion ? Such pictures of glory had blessed the 
visions of his boyhood, and in his mature life he grasped the crown 
only to find it a shadow, the mockery of happiness. 



% 



DUNCAN a. CAMPBELL. 115 

Like other men of genius who have a vultare within, goading them 
to action and devouring the current of life, Mr. Black had a con- 
stitutional malady which preyed upon his spirits. He was often 
sad, perhaps murmured, unwisely demanding why he was so smitten. 
But it is said of him, in the beautiful tribute to be found in the early 
part of this memoir, that he looked up in the dying hour and saw 
that all was right : his gloom vanished, and the darkness of this 
world gave way to the light of another, where the children of the 
Most High are exempt from suffering. 

The author was acquainted with Mr. Black. They spent an 
evening together, more than twenty years ago, at the hospitable 
mansion of a well-known citizen.* He was all that has been 
claimed for him in the vivacity of his wit and the art of making 
others happy by his conversation. He was then in the zenith of 
his manhood, apparently free from disease, and bade fair to survive 
the humble invalid who now dictates this grateful offering to his 
memory. Mr. Black died in the forty-third year of his age, 
mourned by his relatives and lamented by his country. 



V. 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 

This gentleman was bom on the 17th day of February, 1787, 
in the State of North Carolina, and graduated at Chapel Hill 
University in 1806. The next year he came to Georgia, and read 
law in the office of Judge Griffin, of Wilkes county, having, at the 
same time, charge of a female academy. Compelled by ill health 
to resign his practice. Judge Griffin transferred it to Mr. Camp- 
bell, who in due time became prominent and successful at the bar. 

Mr. Campbell was elected Solicitor-General of the Western Cir- 
cuit on the 10th of November, 1816. At the expiration of his 
term of office he was elected a Representative in the Legislature 
from Wilkes county. His course proving satisfactory to his con- 
stituents, they re-elected him the three succeeding years. During 
this time he formed a professional connection with Garnctt An- 

* The late General Blackshenr of Laurens county. 



116 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

drcws, Esq., who attended to all the court-business in his absence, 
thereby enabling him to devote his time to the public service. Mr. 
Campbell has the honor of being the first man in Georgia to intro- 
duce a bill for the education of females. Though he defended the 
measure with zeal and ability, a majority of the Legislature did 
not concur with him in opinion, and it was defeated. He wae in- 
dustrious in his habits, liberal in his views, and ever watchful of the 
public interests, — especially for the diffusion of knowledge among 
the masses as an element of public happiness and prosperity. His 
character as an intelligent, trustworthy man secured him a com- 
mission from the General Government which has rendered his 
name conspicuous before the country. 

On the 16th of July, 1824, Col. Duncan G. Campbell and Maj. 
James Meriwether were appointed, by President Monroe, Commis- 
sioners to form a treaty with the Creek Indians for the sale of their 
lands in Georgia and Alabama. It is unnecessary to notice here 
the difficulties in the way, the preparation for the treaty, the 
postponement at the instance of the Agent, the correspondence 
with the War Department, and the instructions given to the Com- 
missioners, and by the latter to the employees of the Government, 
in arranging for the council at Broken Arrow, in Alabama. On 
the 7th of December, 1824, the Commissioners met the chiefs, and, 
through an interpreter, delivered an address, offering an equal 
quantity of land west of the Mississippi in exchange, and to pay 
money besides. The reply was not conclusive ; and a long talk was 
made to them, full of kindness, and eloquent in its simplicity. 
The following is a passage : — 

Brothers, we plainly sec, and we know it to be true, from the talks of 
the President, the Secretary of War, the Governor of Georgia, the Greorgia 
delegation in Congress, and the Legislature of Georgia, for years past, 
that one of two things must be done : — ^you must come under the laws of 
the whites, or you must remove. Brothers, these are not hard proposi- 
tions. If you intend to be industrious and go to work in earnest, oar 
laws will not be burden-somc. But the difference would be so quick and 
so great that it might at first make you restless and uneasy. Bat, let 
you jro where you will, a change in your condition will be the study of 
Chri.'itians and the work of the Government. Brothers, we now tell vou 
what wc, in the name of your father the President, want you to do. We 
want the country you now occupy. It is within the limits of Georgia 
and Alabama. The«i States insist upon having their lines cleared. The 
President will do this by jriving you a better country, and will aid yoa in 
removing, protect you, where you maj go, against whites and all other?, 
and give you a solemn guarantee in the title and occupancy of the new 
coantry which you may select. We now leave you, to pau.'te, to examioe 
and decide. 



% 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 117 

The following closes the reply of the chiefs : — 

Brothers, wc have already parted with various tracts of our land, until 
our limits are quite circumscrihed : we have barely a sufficieucy left us. 
The proposal to remove beyond the Mississippi we caunot for a moment 
listen to. Brothers, we have among us aged and infirm men and women, 
and helpless children, who cannot bear the fatigues of even a day's jour- 
ney. Shall we, can we, leave them behind us ? The answer is in your 
own hearts. No ! Again : we feel an affection for the land in which wo 
were born ; we wish our bones to rest by the side of our fathers. Con- 
sidering, then, our now circumscribed limits, the attachments we have 
to our native soil, and the assurances which we have that our homes will 
never be forced from us so long as the Government of the United States 
shall exist, we now positivelf/ decline the proposal of a removal beyond the 
Mississippi, or the sale of any more of our territory. Brothers, we feel 
gratified by the friendly disposition manifested toward us by you, and, as 
we meet friendly, so we hope to part. 

On the 16th Decen^ber, tlie Commissioners met the Indian coun- 
cil again, and explained several treaties, some before the Revolu- 
tion, showing that ^^ the lands which the nation occupied were not 
held by title, but reserved to them simply for hunting-grounds." 
The exchange of lands was then renewed, acre for acre, — that the 
United States would pay the sum of $500,000 for all the lands in 
Alabama and Georgia, or would pay $300,000 as the difference in 
Georgia alone, besides paying the nation for their improvements 
and all the expenses of removal. To all this, the Little Prince 
said, "Wc should listen to no old treaties ; that at New York the 
nation gave up land, and that General Washington gave them the 
balance and told them it was theirs ; and that they never intended 
to spare another foot." On the 18th, when the Commissioners 
asked the council if they still hesitated in their determination 
of ceding lands on no terms, the Big Warrior's deputy answered 
" that ho would not take a houseful of money for his interest in 
the land," and that this might be taken for a final answer. 

Thus the treaty at Broken Arrow failed, as the Commissioners 
reported, from the insidious means which had been resorted to 
in exciting the prejudices of the Indians. After adjournment, the 
Commissioners represented to the Secretary of War that a treaty 
could be effected with Mcintosh and a proper number of chiefs 
for the lands in Georgia. Accordingly, on the 18th January, 
1825, Mr. Calhoun transmitted another commission, under which 
the treaty of the Indian Springs was held, on the 12th February, 
1825. 

Transactions attended with more or less difficulty, — menaces on 
the one hand and defiance on the other, — and a variety of events, 
— much severe writing, toil, opposition, — all crowned with victory 



118 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

at last in behalf of Georgia and her gallant defenders, are worthy 
of note in this memoir, as they were connected with the treaty 
which Col. Campbell had negotiated. A bare reference to some 
of them is all that our limits will permit, beginning with the letter 
of the commissioners to Gov. Troup, announcing the treaty : — 

Indian Springs, Febmarj 18, 1825. 

Sir : — Your express has this moment reached us, and delivered your 
communicatioD covering the proceedings of Congress upon the Indian 
question. We are happy to inform you that the ** long agony is over," 
and that we concluded a treaty yesterday, with what we consider the na- 
lion, for nearly the whole country. We enclose you a copy, — also despatches 
for the Government. These last arc addressed to your care, to secure 
their cert^iin transmission by to-morrow's mail. The original treaty will 
be conveyed by our secretary (Dr. Meriwether) to Washington City, by 
the stage leaving Wilkes on Thursday next. Wc are still in time for 
ratification by the present Senate, and beg leave to offer you our sincere 
congratulations upon the more than successful issue of a negotiation in 
which you have been an ardent co-worker. 

With great consideration and respect, Duncan G. Campbell, 

James Meriwether. 

1. Letter from Gov. Troup to the Senators and Representatives 
in Congress from Georgia, in relation to the conduct of the Agcnt^ 
the threats to injure Mcintosh and his chiefs, early removal of 
the Indians, organization of the territory, &c. February 17, 1825. 

2. Proclamation of Gov. Troup, that the treaty had been rati- 
fied by the United States Senate, forbidding trespasses on the 
lands embraced in the treaty, and calling upon all citizens, oflScers, 
and magistrates, to observe the provisions of the treaty and to 
punish all violators thereof. March 21, 1825. 

3. Letter from Gen. William Mcintosh to Gov. Troup, alluding 
to the information given by the Agent to the War Department, 
that chiefs of the lowest grade had signed the treaty, and that 
there would be hostilities in consequence. March 29, 1825. 

4. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Mcintosh, asking his assent 
to the survey of the lands before removal, and promising protection. 
March 29, 1825. 

5. Letter from Gov. Troup to the Commissioners, stating that 
the Indians would hold a council for the purpose of taking measures 
to remove, that an advance-party would explore the country west 
of the Mississippi, and wanted two thousand dollars to bear expenses. 
April 4, 1825. 

6. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Mcintosh, expressing the 
opinion that there would be no danger of any hostility in conse- 
quence of the ratification of the treaty, and that the Commissioners 



DUKCAN G. CAMPBELL. 119 

had been requested to advance the funds necessary for the ex- 
ploring-party. April 4, 1825. . 

7. Letter from Col. Campbell to Gov. Troup, accepting the offer 
of an advance of two thousand dollars to the Indians, to be reim- 
bursed out of the treaty-appropriation. April 7, 1825. 

8. Letter from Gen. Mcintosh to Gov. Troup, assenting to the 
survey of the lands, and suggesting difficulties instigated by the 
Agent. April 12, 1825. 

9. Memorial of Gen. Mcintosh and his chiefs to the Legislature 
of Georgia, reviewing the history of the tribe, their friendly re- 
lations with the whites, their intended removal West, and asking 
donations as the wants and distresses of the Indians and the dig- 
nity of the State may justify,— rconcluding thus : — ^^Frienda and 
Brothers : — We finally assure you that our attachment toward our 
old friends and neighbors shall never cease, and that we will carry 
with us the feelings of true and devoted friendship toward the 
State of Georgia, to the United States, and the Legislature of 
Georgia. If we should be so happy as to experience any token of 
their regard, we will teach our children to remember it with grati- 
tude, and cause it to be handed down to the succeeding generations 
of our nation, that they may forever know that Georgia was their 
friend in the hour of distress." April 12, 1825. 

10. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Mcintosh, expressing the 
hope that he would meet the Little Prince and council in good 
friendship, and a desire that they would all be united in brotherly 
affection before their removal. April 16, 1825. 

11. Letter from Gen. Mcintosh to Gov. Troup, stating that "we 
do hereby absolutely, freely, and fully give our consent to the State 
of Georgia to have the boundary belonging to said State surveyed 
at any time the Legislature of Georgia may think proper, which 
was ceded at the late treaty at the Indian Springs.'' Signed in 
behalf of the nation, and by the consent of the chiefs of the same. 
April 25, 1825. 

12. Letter from Brig.-Gen. Alexander Ware, informing Gov. 
Troup of the murder of Mcintosh on the morning of the 30th of 
April, by the Indians hostile to the treaty, who fired from two to 
four hundred guns at the house of Mcintosh, killing him, burning 
his houses, carrying off his negroes and other property. The hos- 
tile party in the nation exceeds four thousand warriors, and the 
friendly party now reduced to only five hundred. " They implore 
protection ; they need it ; they are constantly coming in, — say the 
road is covered with others.'' May 1, 1825. 



\ 



120 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBGIA. 

IS. Letter from Gov. Troup to the President of the United States, 
relating the death of Mcintosh,-!-" a chieftain whose virtues would 
have honored any country." The preparations for this tragedy 
were long notified to the Government in the conduct of the Agent. 
Atonement shall be made for the death of Mcintosh and his friend 
Tustunnuggee, the old chief of Coweta, who perished with him. 
May 3, 1825. 

14. Letter from Gov. Troup to Joseph Marshall, advising quiet 
until measures are taken to avenge the death of Mcintosh by the 
whites. May 3, 1825. 

15. Letter — from Peggy (wife) and Susannah (daughter) of Gen. 
Mcintosh — to the Commissioners, informing them of the dreadful 
butcheries of the hostile Indians, the killing of Col. Samuel 
Hawkins, distressed situation of the friendly Indians, destitute 
women and children flying to the white settlements. May 3, 1825. 

16. Orders of Gov. Troup to Major-Generals Wimberly, Shorter, 
and Miller to hold their divisions in readiness to march at a 
moment's warning, either by detachments or otherwise, as may be 
commanded by authority of the Legislature or the Executive. 
May 5, 1825. 

17. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Ware, to provide for the 
comfortable maintenance of the friendly Indians who had taken 
refuge in the white settlements, the expense to be borne by Georgia 
in the first instance and reimbursed by the United States. May 
5, 1825. 

18. Letter from Gov. Troup to the Secretary of War, enclosing 
a copy of Gen. Ware's letter, and notifying him that measures had 
been adopted for the protection of the frontiers, and for the safety 
of the friendly Indians, until the authority of the United States 
can be effectually interposed for these objects; and that the 
expenses incurred will be chargeable to the United States. May 
5, 1825. 

19. Letter from Brig.-Gen. McDonald to Gov. Troup, giving 
information, on the authority of Mr. Freeman, that the Indians 
had determined to take the life of the Agent, — both parties being 
hostile to him, — and advising that military supplies be furnished 
the Agent, to enable him, with three or four hundred Indians who 
would stand up to him, to defend themselves. May 6, 1825. 

20. Letter from Gov. Troup to the Secretary of War, enclosing 
copy of letter from Gen. McDonald, and stating that up to date 
not a word had been heard from the Agent. May 9, 1825. 

21. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. McDonald, referring to a 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 121 

letter from the Agent to Mr. Bozeman, published that mornings 
the contents of which being inconsistent with the representations 
made by Mr. Freeman, the measures taken for the safety of the 
Agent will be arrested, there being no prospect of danger to him, 
from his own admissions. May 10, 1825. 

22. AflSdavit of Francis Flournoy, who was in Gen. Mcintosh's 
house at the murder and burning : from two to four hundred 
Indians surrounded the house about daylight, set a guard round it, 
fired the buildings, and shot fifty bullets into the general and as 
many into Tustunnuggee. The females and children were stripped 
of their clothing, the premises plundered of every thing valuable, 
carried ofif all they could, and destroyed the balance. May 16, 
1825. 

23. Presentments of the Grand Jury of the United States Cir- 
cuit Court for the District of Georgia, recommending a strict 
investigation of the Indian atrocities and the conduct of persons 
concerned, and the punishment of the authors, perpetrators, aiders, 
and abettors of the crimes committed, and that adequate protection 
and succor bo afforded to the fugitive Indians while danger con- 
tinues, and that copies of the presentments be certified to the 
President of the United States, and to the Governor of Georgia. 
May Term, 1825. 

24. Statement of facts by twenty-four chiefs, friends of Mcln-^ 
tosh, in which it is denied that Mcintosh or his party, or any 
council of the nation, ever made a law "that, if any Indian chief 
should sign a treaty of any lands to the whites, that he should 
certainly suffer death ;*' so that this pretext for the murder of 
Mcintosh is false. May 17, 1825. 

25. Letter from Gov. Troup to the chiefs, stating, — 

I hope that the worst is over. 'Tis true that Mcintosh and his friends 
who have been so cruelly murdered cannot be restored to life ; but the 
Great Spirit, who is also good and merciful, will look down upon your 
sufferings with pity and compassion. He will wipe the tears from your 
eyes, and soften the hearts of even your enemies among the whites ; so 
that if your Great Father [the President] should turn his ear from your 
complaints, or shall fail to punish the white men who, in his name, have 
disturbed your peace and brought the heaviest afflictions upon you, he 
will have to answer for it both to his white children and the Great Spirit. 
It cannot be doubted, therefore, that all will yet be right. In the mean 
time, continue to do as I have advised you, and until you hear from mc. 
My officers everywhere are ordered to take care of you and make you com- 
fortable. May 21, 1825. 

26. Message of Gov. Troup to the Legislature (special session) 




122 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

on the subject of the treaty and the disposition of the lands. 
Referring to the Indians, he said : — 

IlaviDg their own pledge that the peace should bo kept among them- 
selves, I wished to see no interruption of it by the Georgians ; and, honor- 
ably for them, there has been none. I verily believe that, but for the 
insidious practices of evil-minded white men, the entire nation would 
have moved harmoniously across the Mississippi. The massacre of Mcin- 
tosh and his friends is to be attributed to them alone. That chieftain, 
whose whole life has been devoted to Georgia as faithfully as to his own 
tribe, fell beneath the blows of the assassins when reposing in the bosom of 
his family upon the soil of Georgia, — the soil which he had defended against 
a common enemy and against his own blood, which he had relinquished 
forever to our just demands, and which he had abandoned to our present 
use only because we asked it. So foul a murder, perpetrated by a foreign 
force upon our territory and within our jurisdiction, called aloud for ven- 
geance. It was my settled purpose, having first consulted the Government 
at Washington, to have dealt out the full measure of that vengeance, — so 
that honor, humanity, justice, being satisfied, whatever stain may have 
been left upon our soil, none should upon the pages of our history. May 
23, 1825. 

With this message the documents from which the foregoing 
abstract is made were transmitted to the Legislature, besides other 
papers relating to the negotiations with the Creeks and the mat- 
ters growing out of them. 

27. In the annual message of Gov. Troup, the Indian difficulties, 
the course of the General Government and of its functionaries 
from the major-general down, are specially reviewed, and are thus 
summed up: — 

The result of all which is, that, judging the motives and objects of 
human action by the results, the agents of the United States, whether 
commissioned for that purpose or not, must have been intent on vindi- 
cating the conduct of the Agent for Indian Affairs and opening the way 
for the rupture of the treaty ; for that conduct has been vindicated and 
approved by them, and all the materials, as it is understood, collected for 
that rupture, whilst the Indians remain unreconciled either to one another 
or to the treaty, and a large portion of them more embittered and exas- 
perated against the authors of it than ever. 

28. Letter from Major-General Edmund Pendleton Gaines to 
Gov. Troup, acknowledging the receipt of certain correspondence 
and the instructions to Captain Harrison. June 13, 1825. 

20. Orders of Gov. Troup to Captain James Harrison, com- 
manding Twiggs county cavalry, to repair to the frontier for the 
protection of our citizens and others, with their property, against 
the assaults of the enemy, and to chastise all who shall be mad 
enough to commit aggression. June 10, 1825. 

'^), Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines, notifying him^ 
before he communicated with his Government or met the Indians 



DUNCAN a. CAMPBELL. 123 

in convention, that the laws of Georgia were already extended 
over the ceded territory, and that it was the duty of the Governor 
to execute them there, — the act of the Legislature on the subject 
appearing in the morning papers. June 14, 1825. 

31. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines, apprizing him that 
the Governor of Alabama would be requested to join in marking 
the line between that State and Georgia; and, "if that concert and 
co-operation be refused, we will proceed to run the line without 
them, as we will also proceed in due time to make the survey of 
the lands within our limits, disregarding any obstacles which may 
be opposed from any quarter." June 13, 1825. 

32. Letter from Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, stating that, in his 
conference with the Indians relative to the treaty and the matters 
springing from its execution, he is "distinctly authorized to state 
to the Indians that the President of the United States has sug- 
gested to Gov. Troup the necessity of his abstaining from his 
entering into and surveying the ceded land until the time pre- 
scribed by the treaty for their removal." June 14, 1825. 

33. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines, in which he 
says : — 

On the part of the GovernmeDt of Georgia, the will of its highest con- 
stituted authority has been declared, upon the most solemo deliberation, 
that the line shall be run and the survey executed. It is for you, there- 
fore, to bring it to the issue ; it is for me only to repeat that, cost what it 
will, the Hoe will be run and the survey effected. The Government of 
Georgia will not retire from the position it occupies to gratify the Agent 
or the hostile Indians ; nor will it do so* I trust, because it knows that, in 
consequence of disobedience to an unlawful mandate, it may be very soon 
recorded that ** Georgia was." June 15, 1825. 

84. Letter from Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, in which he regrets 
the difference of opinion, and the expression of any feeling or con- 
troversy. To prevent disturbances in the nation, he calls on the 
Governor for two complete regiments, one of cavalry and one of 
infantry. June 16, 1825. 

35. Letter from Gov. Troup, informing Gen. Gaines that orders 
had been issued to hold in readiness two regiments for his service, 
and to furnish as large a proportion of volunteers, infantry, and 
cavalry as can be conveniently assembled. Captain Harrison's 
troop of cavalry was placed under his orders. Jiine 16, 1825. 

36. Letter from Gov. Troup, apprizing Gen. Gaines of the 
Commission appointed under an act of the Legislature to investi- 
gate the conduct of the Agent, but not to interfere with any nego- 
tiations between the United States and the Indians, unless invited 



124 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

by the oflScers of the former, or that the questions before the 
council shall be of such a nature as to require their presence to do 
justice to all parties. June 18, 1825. 

37. Letter from Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, declining the 
presence of the Georgia Commissioners at any council with the 
Indians. June 22, 1825. 

38. Letter from Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, stating that a con- 
ference had been held with the Indian council, who promised to 
be peaceable, though* they protest against the treaty and refuse 
any part of the consideration-money. They would not raise an 
arm against the United States, nor make any resistance to an 
army sent to take their whole country, but would sit down quietly 
and be put to death where the bones of their ancestors were 
deposited, — " that the world should know the Muscogee nation so 
loved their country that they were willing to die in it rather than 
sell it or leave it.** July 1, 1825. 

39. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines, showing that the 
obstinate refusal of the Indians to remove was the work of new 
prejudices : — 

I much fear that this ardent love of country i.s of recent origin. We 
can scarcely believe that the amor patriss is all upon one side, and that 
side the hostile one. Will you not be able to discover, in the course of 
your investigations, that any thing had been said and done by white men 
to prejudice them against their new home ? It b indeed a pity that 
these unfortunate men should be the dupes of the most depraved of our 
own color, ^and so far tlie dupes as to be made to act in direct repugnance 
to their own best interests. It is more to be lamented that the impostors 
and knaves cannot be dragged from their hiding-places and punished. 
July 4, 1825. 

40. Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, stating that the Indians had 
agreed to be peaceable with each other, and to restore all property 
wrongfully taken, and pay all destroyed contrary to law. They 
still declare the treaty was the offspring of fraud, entered into 
contrary to the known law and determined will of the nation, and 
by persons not authorized to act. They still refuse to share any 
part of the money under the treaty, or to give any other evidence 
of acquiescence. In view of the pacification, there will be no 
necessity for calling into service any part of the militia or volun- 
teers of the State. He enclosed a certificate signed by William 
Edwards and Joseph Marshall, that they were present when the 
express from Gov. Troup delivered the request to Gen. Mcintosh 
for leave to survey the lands, when the latter replied that he could 
W^ grant the request, but that he would call the chiefs together 
Mid lay it before them, — which was never done. July 10, 1825. 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 125 

41. Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines, denouncing the certificate of 
Marshall, who had repeatedly declared that there was not a dis- 
sentient voice from the sui^ey among the friendly chiefs. Gov. 
Troup says : — 

I very well know from lato events which have transpired under the 
eyes of the Commissioners, that the oath even of a Governor of Georgia 
may he permitted to pass for nothing, and that any vagahond of the 
Indian country may he put in requisition to discredit him. But I assure 
you, sir, if that oath should not weigh one feather with your Government, 
it will weigh with the people of this State, who have never refused 
credence to the word of their chief-magistrate, and, I believe, will not to 
the present one, unworthy as he may be. Permit me to say in frankness 
that I do not like the complexion of things at all as disclosed by the Com- 
missioners on the part of the State, and sincerely hope that 3'ou may never 
have cause to regret the part you have taken in them. July 16, 1825. 

42. Letter from Gen. Gaines to Gov. Troup, defending the 
character of Edwards and Marshall, as^en worthy of the highest 
credit ; severe and caustic in its figures, such as, ^' The enlight- 
ened citizens of the republic, having long since found it to be fruit- 
less to look for angels in the form of men to govern them, know 
full well how to discriminate between the high office and the man 
who fills it;" "the adamantine pillars of the Unions against which 
the angry, vaporing, paper squibs of the little and the great dema- 
gogues of all countries may be continued to be hurled for hundreds 
of centuries without endangering the noble edifice." Further he 
says : — 

It is not to be denied that there is in Georgia, as well as every other 
State, a small class of men who, like the " Holy Alliance,'* profess to 
employ themselves in the laudable work of enlightening and governing 
all other classes of the community, but whose labors consist of the vain 
and '^ daring efforts'' to prove the light of truth is to be found only with 
the party to which they themselves respectively belong, and that all others 
go wrong. If you will take the trouble to read the newspaper essays with 
which the presses have been teeming for some years past, you will find 
that many of the essayists have had the hardihood to " refuse credence 
to the word of their chicf-magistrutc;" and yet we have no reason to 
despair of the Republic. July 28, 1825. 

43. Letter from Gov. Troup to Gen. Gaines on ascertaining 
that the letter of 28th ult., published in the Georgia Journal, was 
in his handwriting, saying, " I have lost no time to direct you to 
forbear further intercourse with this Government. Having thought 
proper to make representations of your conduct to the President, 
I have ordered you to be furnished with a copy of every letter 
written on your subject, and which will reach you in due time. 
Any communication proceeding from the ofiicer next in command 




126 BENCH AND BAR OF QE0R6IA. 

in this military department will be received and attended to." 
August 6, 1825. 

44. Gov. Troup to T. P. Andrews, Special Agent, appealing to 
his sound sense to know what good or what changes will be effected 
by further convocations with the Indians while the Agent retains 
his place, to exercise influence over them as he has always done : — 

The documents of incontestable authority prove to you that they will 
not. No, sir ; the way to the accomplishment of the ends of your mission 
is open. Suspend the Agent, make atonement to the friends of Mclnioah 
for the blood shed by the guilty instruments of white men, restore the 
friendly chiefs to their political rank and power, and, my word for it, yon 
will find truth, — and enough of it for every purpose, — peace, reconciliation, 
and union. June 14, 1825. 

45. Gov. Troup to T. P. Andrews, placing in his possession the 
report of a committee and lesolutions of the Legislature, supported 
by evidence in the case of the Agent for Indian Affairs, whose 
conduct in connection with the late disturbances in the Creek 
nation had been a subject of investigation before the Legislature. 
June 13, 1825. 

46. T. P. Andrews to Gov. Troup. Has seen nothing in the 
evidence to authorize the suspension of the Agent ; yet, in courtesy 
to the Governor, the suspension is ordered. In the mean time, he 
trusts the evidence which has been collected altogether ex parte will 
not be laid before the public until the Agent has an opportunity 
of defending himself, or the General Government an opportunity 
of examining the evidence adduced by either party. June 18, 1825. 

47. Gov. Troup to T. P. Andrews. Corrects the mistake that the 
Agent was denied the opportunity of defending himself. The 
Commissioners were directed to afford him that privilege ; but the 
Agent declined availing himself of the cross-examination of wit- 
nesses, or being present at any examination, professing to deny 
the right of Georgia altogether to interfere in this matter. June 
20, 1825. 

48. T. P. Andrews to Gov. Troup. Evinces some knowledge of 
special pleading, charges, specifications, testimony, confrontation 
of witnesses, and all that process, applied to the Agent, and denies 
the existence of all prejudice by the General Government in faTor 
of the Agent, &c. June 28, 1825. 

49. Gov. Troup to T. P. Andrews. Is at a loss how to frame 
specifications to cover the case of the Agent, date, place, crime* 
and the precise part acted by him in instigating the Indians to 
murder Mcintosh, oppose the treaty, &c. The charge has been 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 127 

sufficiently explicit for all rational purposes, and, if more is 
required, it is not his duty to furnish it. June 27, 1825. 

50. Gov. Troup to T. P. Andrews : — 

. Sir :-r-I call your attention to a letter purporting to be yours, and 
addressed to the Agent in extenuation of your conduct for the act of 
suspension, and published in a paper here, of this morning, called the 
Patriot. If this letter be authentic, you will consider all intercourse 
between yourself and this Government suspended from the moment of 
the receipt of this. June 28, 1825. 

51. T. P. Andrews to Gov. Troup, [treated as unofficial after sus- 
pension,] admitting the letter in the Patriot^ and still declaring the 
innocence of the Agent: — 

Being an officer of the General Government, I can go on to discharge 
my duties fearlessly, according to the dictates of my conscience and to 
the best of my judgment; and, if I am to be added to the list of the 
proscribed for interposing the shield of my Government to prevent the 
destruction of a man doomed to be condemned without a hearing or trial, 
I wish that suspension not only continued, but made absolute and perma- 
nent. July 4, 1825. 

62. Gov. Troup to the Secretary of War, informing him of the 
cause and the fact of suspension of further intercourse with T. P. 
Andrews, Spei^ial Agent. June 28, 1825. 

53. Gov. Troup to the President of the United States, forward- 
ing a report and sundry resolutions adopted by the Legislature, 
with the evidence relating to the conduct of the Agent for Indian 
AflFairs. June 13, 1825. 

54. C. Vandeventer, Chief Clerk of the War Department, (the 
Secretary being absent,) informs Gov. Troup that the President 
has decided that, if the land is surveyed before the time fixed by 
the treaty, the responsibility will be upon the Government of 
Georgia. June 15, 1825. 

55. The Secretary of War, to Gov. Troup, says : — 

The Indians, to the number of 1890, including a large majority of 
their chiefs and head-men of the tribe, have denounced the treaty as 
tainted alike with intrigue and treachery, and as the act of a very small 
portion of the tribe against the express determination of a very large 
majority, — a determination known to the Commissioners. 

He repeats that the survey of the lands before 1st September, 
1826, would be an infraction of the 8th article of the treaty, 
which the President was bound to execute, and that, for the 
present, a previous survey will not be permitted. A copy of the 
instructions to Gt5n. Gaines is enclosed. July 21, 1825. 

56. The Secretary of War, to Gen. Gaines, among other things, 
said: — 




128 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Yet shonld he [Gov. Troup] persevere in sending persons to survey the 
lands embraced within the treaty, jou are hereby authorized to employ 
the military to prevent their entrance on the Indian territory, or, if they 
should succeed in entering the country, to cause them to be arrested, and 
turn them over to the judicial authority, to be dealt with as the law 
directs. July 21, 1825. 

57. Gov. Troup to the Secretary of War : — 

You make known at the same time the resolution of the President to 
refer the treaty to Congress, on the allegation that intrigue and treachery 
have been employed to procure it. This at once puts a stop to the sur- 
vey ; and you will inform the President that, until the will of the Legis- 
lature of Georgia is expressed, no measures will be taken to execute the 
survey. 

The Executive of Georgia has no authority, in the civil war with which 
the State is menaced, to strike the first blow, nor has it the inclination 
to provoke it. This is left for those who have both the inclination and 
authority, and who profess to. love the Union best. The Legislature will 
on their first meeting decide what, in this respect, the rights and interests 
of the State demand. In the mean time, the right to make the survey 
is asserted, and the reference of the treaty to Congress for revision pro- 
tested against, without any qualification. It is true, sir, that, according 
to my own opinion, if there be fraud and corruption in the procurement 
of the treaty, it ought to be set aside by the indignant expression of the 
nation's will : the taint of such corruption, according to that opinion, 
would suffice to render void an instrument of any kind purporting to pass 
a right of any kind. 

But of what avail is this opinion against your own established maxims 
and precedents y You would decry it as the visionary speculation of a 
wild enthusiastic, because you would refer me to all your Indian treaties. 
You would present to me, in full relief, the decision of your Supreme 
Court in the case of Fletcher and Peck, where, a feigned issue being 
made to settle the principle, the principle was settled that the Legislature 
of Georgia having, by bribery and corruption, sold the inheritance of the 
people for a mess of pottage, the grant passed a vested right which 
could by no possibility be divested ; and, therefore, that the Congress had 
no alternative but to surrender the territory of Alabama and Mississippi, 
or compromise the claims. They chose the latter, and gave five millions 
of dollars to the claimants, — of which we paid our full proportion. 

Whilst, therefore, I present my own opinion on the one hand, you 
have, on the other, my public and official protestation, in strict accordaDoe 
and unison with your and all your constituted authorities' decisions, and 
which place the treaty upon such high ground that, no matter by what 
execrable baseness it may have been elevated there, the Congress of the 
United States cannot reach it. 

It may be otherwise, but 1 do sincerely believe that no Indian treaty 
has ever been negotiated and concluded in better faith than the one 
which is the subject of this letter. If it be otherwise, having been 
concluded by your own officers against your instructions, without any 
participation of the authorities of Georgia, I sincerely hope that those 
officers may, so far as you have power, be brought to trial and punish- 
ment. But yet, according to your own doctrines, this does not impair 
the validity of the treaty. The Legislature of Georgia wiii^ therefore, at 



DUNCAN O. CAMPBELL. 129 

its first meetlDg, be advised to resist any effort which maj be made to 
wrest from the State the territory acquired by that treaty, and no matter 
by what authority that effort be made. August 15, 1825. 

58. Gov. Troup to the President of the United States, commu- 
nicating the report of the Georgia Commissioners in the case of 
the Agent, and pointing out the sufiSciency of the evidence for his 
removal and the injustice on the part of the agents of the Federal 
Government toward Georgia, their bias and obstinacy, their readi- 
ness to believe any person and any circumstance in favor of the 
Agent for Indian Affairs, and their incredulity to proof of the 
highest grade when against him:— 

A gentleman of clear intellect, pure morals, honorable character, and 
great prudence [Col. Henry G. Lamar] is selected by the Governor to 
hold a talk with the Indians. He performs that duty, makes his report, 
and the report is at once discredited on the naked word of the Indians. 
General Mcintosh writes three several letters to the Governor, subscribed 
by his own proper hand, giving his assent to the survey of the country ; 
the friendly chiefs, Marshall included, repeatedly assure the Governor 
that they, one and all, consent to the survey ; a certificate is obtained 
from this same Marshall and a white man, to prove that General Mcintosh 
refused his assent ; General Gaines immediately comes to the conclusion 
that this assent was never given. 

The admission of free communication with the Indians to every other 
description of persons, and the denial of it to the Georgia Commissioners, 
was a further wrong done to Georgia. 

Indeed, sir, it would appear from the reports of the Commissioners that 
all or any description of testimony would be willingly received on the one 
side, and particularly that description which would exculpate the Agent, 
excuse the hostile Indians, prevent the survey of the lands, or effect the 
abrogation of the treaty; and, on the other side, every thing was to be 
discredited, or received, at best, with many grains of allowance, and every 
act or proceeding of the Commissioners of the United States or of the 
constituted authorities of the State resolved into corruption and de- 
pravity. July 26, 1825. 

69. Gov. Troup to the President on the coarse of Gen. Gaines, 
his partisan interference, his dictatorial bearing, his admission of 
unworthy persons to outweigh the statements of the Government. 
August 7, 1825. 

60. The Secretary of War to Gov. Troup, regretting the pos- 
ture of affairs, and expressing the desire of the President to avoid 
all differences, so far as his duty will permit ; that he has heard 
with satisfaction the determination of the Governor not to proceed 
with the survey until the whole matter can be submitted to Con- 
gress and to the Legislature of Georgia. August 30, 1825. 

61. Gov. Troup to the President of the United States : — 

In the enclosed gazette you will find another insolent letter, dated the 
Vol. I.— 9 



130 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

16th instant, addressed bj your agent, Brevet Major-General Craines, to 
the Chief-Magistrate of this State. Having been betrayed by his passioiu 
into the most violent excesses, he is presented before you at this moment 
as your commissioned officer and authorized agent, with a corps of regu- 
lars at his heels, attempting to dragoon and overawe the constituted 
authorities of an independent State, and on the eve of a great election, 
amid the distractions of party, taking side with the one political party 
against the other, and addressing electioneering papers almost weekly to 
the Chief-Magistrate through the public prints, couched in language of 
contumely and insult and defiance, and for which were I to send him to 
you in chains I would transgress nothing of the public law. The same 
moderation and forbearance with which I have endeavored heretofore to 
deport myself in my intercourse with you, and from which I trust there 
has in no instance been a departure, but on the highest necessity, have 
restrained me from resorting to harsh and offensive measures against him. 
You will see, however, if this officer has been thus acting by your author- 
ity or countenance, you have an awful atonement to make to your con- 
temporaries and to posterity. 

But if, contrary to either, he has assumed the responsibility, it b ex- 
pected that your indignant reprobation of his conduct will be marked by 
the most exemplary punbhment which the laws will enable you to inflict 
I demand, therefore, as Chief-Magistrate of Georgia, his immediate recall, 
and his arrest, trial, and punishment under the rules and articles of war. 
August 31, 1825. 

62. The Secretary of War to Gov. Troup, adhering to the coarse 
of submitting the conduct of the officers of the United States to 
Congress, and enclosing a copy of his letter to Gen. Gaines, though 
" The President has decided that he cannot, consistently with his 
view of the subject, accede to your demand to have Gen. Gtiines 
arrested.*' September 19, 1825. 

63. The Secretary of War to Gen. Gaines, referring to the 
decorum which ought to mark his official intercourse with the 
State authorities ; and the letters from Gov. Troup, showing that a 
contrary course had been pursued : — 

He [the President] has therefore seen with regret that, in the letters 
publlfch^rd, ^which, though not transmitted to the Department, he presumes, 
are auibenticj purporting to be from you to Gov. Troup, you have per- 
luitttid }(mrke\f to indulge a tone whose effect will be to destroy that har- 
luouy vhich the President is so much dispased to cherish, and the pnbli- 
utttiuu (A which is calculated to inflame those differences which moderatioQ 
and lur]L>earkuc« could not fail to allay. In communicating to you the 
dibttppr^batiou of the President, as well for writing as publishing those 
lettorh; aud Li« injunction that, in your official intercourse with Crov. Troup 
in future, yvu atb(^ialin from every thing; that may be deemed offeosiTey 
i am dirwted to add, as an act of justice to you, that the President sees, 
in the tien'^u^ C'h«r|re« made against you by Gov. Troup, and the publicity 
given to tUeui^ uo4 which the letters complained of were intended to repel, 
4flnHUii8titttO«i$ which go far in his opinion to palliate your coodaet, and 



DUNCAN O. CAMPBELL. ISl 

without wbich palliation the President would have found it his duty to 
have yielded to the demand of Gov. Troup. September 19, 1825. 

64. Gov. Troup to the Secretary of War, rectifying the pretext 
on which the President declined to arrest Gen. Gaines : — 

Nothing offensive or exceptionable was ever written to that officer 
before he had sanctioned by his approbation an offensive letter written by 
your Special Agent on the 21st of June, and addressed to the Agent for 
Indian Affairs, in which the authorities of Georgia are wantonly abused 
for injustice, oppression, and tyranny practised against the Agent, or before 
he had obtained a false certificate from two base and unworthy men to 
traduce and vilify the character of the Chief-Magistrate of Georgia, 
which he ordered to be published of his mere volition, on pretence that 
false rumors were in circulation, — of what, or about whom, he did not 
say, — and this, too, done, as was afterwards made manifest, for the pur- 
pose of influencing the general election in this State in behalf of his 
favorite candidate. That you may entertain no doubt of the correctness 
of this statement, and the incorrectness of the statement of the Presi- 
dent, you have only to compare the dates of the various letters and of 
their publication. It will be seen that before Gen. Gaines could have . 
received my letter of the 16th July, of which he complained, he had 
already ordered the publication of his of the 10th of July, to which it 
was an answer. 

You will be furnished with additional testimony to show the very repre- 
hensible conduct of the same officer in his deportment toward the authori- 
ties of Georgia, — not with any the least expectation that justice will be 
rendered by the President to those authorities, but in discharge of duties 
which they owe themselves. October 15, 1825. 

65. Gov. Troup to Messrs. Warren Jourdan, Seaborn Jones, 
William H. Torrance, and William W. Williamson, Commissioners 
under a resolution of the Georgia Legislature to investigate the 
conduct of the Agent for Indian Affairs and the disturbances in 
the Creek nation : — 

You are requested to proceed to the Indian Springs, to attend a council 
of tlie friendly Indians to be holden there on the 20th inst. As it is 
presumed that every concert tendered on the part of this Government to 
assure a full development of the facts connected with the late disturb- 
ances in the Creek nation, andr also such as may more particularly affect 
the guilt or innocence of the Agent under the charges exhibited against him 
by Ae Governor of this State, will be gratifying to Major-General Gaines, 
you are hereby authorized and empowered, under the authority vested in 
you by the Legislature, to employ all lawful means for the furthering of 
the objects aforesaid, avoiding, at the same time, any interference whatever 
with that council in matters disconnected with the objects of your mission, 
and which appertain exclusively to interests and relations purely political, 
subsisting between the General Government and Indians. 

After further directions as to other places, and the aid of 
friendly chiefs to be kept with the Commissioners, the Governor 




1S2 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

says, ^' Should such participation be denied you, you will enter 
your formal protest against that denial, and proceed to avail your- 
selves, within the jurisdiction of Georgia, of all the testimony you 
can obtain/' June 18, 1825. 

66. The Georgia Commissioners to Gen. Gaines : — 

Enclosed you will receive a copy of a letter of instructioos from his 
Excellency the Governor of Georgia to us as Commissioners in behalf 
of the State, for the purposes therein mentioned. It is important to the 
Commissioners that your answer to the application of his Excellency the 
Governor to admit the Commissioners to a full and free participation of 
the council of the Indians should be received as early as practicable. 
June 20, 1825. 

67. Gen. Gaines to Messrs. Jourdan, Williamson, and Torrance, 
Commissioners:— 

In reply, I have to observe that, however much I might be aided by 
the light of your experience, I do not feel myself authorized, without new 
instructions from the Department of War, to comply with your demand to 
be admitted ^ to a full and free participation of the council of the Indians.' 
The council is assembled for the purpose of enabling me to discharge 
duties of a very delicate and important nature confided to me by the 
General Government. I deem it proper, therefore, that I should exercise 
the entire control of every subject to bo acted on, and of every expression 
uttered to the council by any officer or citizen permitted to address it, 
whether of the United States or of any individual State or Territory. 
Without such control our councils would be involved in confusion, 
and they would be wholly useless, — if not worse than useless. June 21, 
1825. 

68. The Georgia Commissioners to Gen. Gaines : — 

• 

We are instructed to say that our Government disclaims in the strongest 
terms any wish or intention in any wise to embarrass your movements as 
connected with any matter growing out of the present unfortunate and 
peculiar situation of the Creek nation of Indians. The Governmei\t of 
Georgia has created the commission, under which we have the honor to 
act, for no other purpose than to inquire into the facts as connected with 
the conduct of an officer of your Government, — the conduct of which 
officer has been arraigned by the Government of Georgia at the instance 
of the President of the United States. In the investigation of the conduct 
of that officer the State of Georgia has groat interest. It is of the highest 
importance to her that there should be a full and clear development of 
all the facts, which, if had, it is believed, will fully establish the several 
charges as preferred. 

To arrive at the certainty of all these facts in the most imposing and 
official manner, it was considered by our Government necessary to consti- 
tute the present mission. It was further determined by the same Govern- 
ment to be of the first consequence that the members of that mission 
should present themselves, clothed in their official character, in the council 
of the Indians to be convened by you, — believing that in the councils 



DUNCAN a. CAMPBELL. 133 

ioformation might be elicited material to the points in issue between the 
State of Georgia and the Agent for Indian Affairs. For this purpose, and 
no other, we have been directed by our Government to repair to this place, 
and to inform you of the same, and to respectfully ask for admittance 
therein. We have done so by request only ; we have not demanded it. 
That permission has been denied to us. 

We therefore, in pursuance tp our instructions, as also a proper sense 
of duty toward our Government, do hereby enter our formal protest 
against such denial, — believing that in consequence of being debarred a 
participation in those councils the State of Georgia will unquestionably be 
deprived of that which is to her of vital interest and great magnitude. 
June 21, 1825. 

It would extend this memoir beyond reasonable limits to give 
an abstract of the correspondence between the Georgia Commis- 
sioners and the agents of the General Government, some of which 
was racy enough. Col. Samuel Rockwell, as counsel for Col. 
Crowell, was present at some, if not all, of the examinations of 
witnesses for the State. The interrogatories were generally in 
writing, and the answers were specific. A great deal of testimony 
was collected in this way, — much to inculpate the Agent, and somo 
to sustain or discredit certain witnesses, as the interest of the 
party, or the occasion, might require. The report of the Com- 
missioners, embodying all this matter, letters, affidavits, and exami- 
nations, formed about one hundred pages in print, — all of which was 
laid before the Legislature by Gov. Troup and a copy forwarded to 
the President. In what degree the character of the Agent was 
affected by the evidence, or whether the President erred in retain- 
ing him in office, the author expresses no opinion, as President 
Adams, Gov. Troup, Gen. Gaines, and Col. Crowell are all dead, 
and charity forbids that reproach should be cast on the memory 
of those who cannot repel what may be unjust. 

As a specimen, however, of the indiscretions into which men of 
high position were betrayed, three affidavits are here copied from 
the documents in question, — two relating to the conduct of Gen. 
Gaines, and the other proving conclusively that, if the Alien and 
Sedition Laws passed under the administration of the first President 
Adams bad been in force on the 4th day of July, 1825, or there- 
about. Col. Williamson, one of the Georgia Commissioners, would have 
been liable to a criminal prosecution for defamatory words con- 
cerning the second President Adams : — 

Pbinceton, Indian nation : 

Personally appeared John Winslctt, before me, Thomas Triplett, Acting 
Agent for Indian Affairs, who, being duly sworn, says that on Saturday 
last, the 2d inst., at a bouse occupied by a negro of Chilly Mcintosh, who 




134 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

had whiskey for sale, William W. Williamson, one of the GommissioDen 
from Greorgia, in a coDversation with this deponent and others, consisting 
of Benjamin Hawking, Josiah Gray, Indians, who anderstood English, 
Samuel B. Nichols, Isaac Barns, Nelson Kent, and others, among other 
things asserted that he had heen threatened since he had heen here, hut 
not hy the red people ; and, after some other remarks, he ohserred that 
the President of the United States had acted like a damned intignificant 
rascal, for taking notice of reports which had the effect of stopping the 
survey. John Winslbtt. 

Sworn to before me, this 4th day of July, 1825. 

Thomas Triplett, Acting Agent Indian Affairs, 

Witness, T. P. Andrews, Special Agent, 

The above affidavit appears among the papers attached to the 
address of Major T. P. Andrews, which was published in the 
National Intelligencer of September 22, 1825, in reply, as he 
states, to the reports of the Georgia Commissioners. 

The following affidavits were part of the evidence transmitted 
with the special message of Gov. Troup to the Legislature, Novem- 
ber 21, 1825 :— 

Affidavit of the Rev, Iverson L, Brookes, 

Georgia, Baldwin county : 

Personally appeared before me the Rev. Iverson L. Brookes, who, being 
duly sworn, saith that while at the Indian Springs, in the State of Georgia, 
in the month of July past, on Tuesday, the 19th day of the month, he 
was introduced to Gen. E. P. Gaines by Maj. Joel Bailey, who keeps the 
public tavern at that place. After the introduction, this deponent and 
Gen. Gaines entered into conversation about the Indians, the treaty, and 
other matters connected with them, in the public room, near the outer 
door. Several persons were present, — principally white men, and a few 
Indians of the friendly or Mcintosh party. In that conversation General 
Gaines stated, in speaking of the possessions of the United States beyond 
the Mississippi, that the General Government possessed no lands in that 
quarter free from the encumbrance of Indian titles or the occupancy of 
white settlers, who could not be removed without entering into formal 
treaties. He further said it was the most heels-over-head piece of busi- 
ness in the General Government that, perhaps, ever occurred in the con- 
duct of wise men, to engage by treaty with the Indians to exchange with 
them territory when they had none to exchange. 

In speaking about the treaty, he stated that in regard to the treaty he 
thought he had sufficient evidence in his possession to convince him that 
the commencement and whole process of it was founded in the deepest 
fraud and treachery, and that every individual concerned in it was damned : 
he paused a while, and then said, politically damned. In conversing 
further about the treaty and the land, after making some remarks not par- 
ticularly recollected, he turned to the Indians who were present, and said, 
Itdl these Indians the white people icill clieat them out of Oieir lands, 
gei all their money, and then kick them to hell! 

In speaking about Crowell, he stated he believed him a pore and up- 



DUNCAN a. CAMPBELL. 135 

right man ; that he had done more than his duty, and the only thing he 
hlamed him for was signing the treaty as a witness, and that he (General 
Gaines) would rather have lost his right arm than to have done it. 
Talking of the Indians, he said they were disposed to be reconciled and 
return to the nation, except Chilly Mcintosh and the small party attached 
to him ; that he did not care whether he did or not, — that he was no chief, 
and had plenty of property to live either among the Indians or whites. 
He further said that the people of Georgia were a reflecting people ; that 
they were under the influence of intriguing politicians, and that he had no 
doubt they would ultimately approve his conduct. This deponent further 
saith that the conversation was a long one, and during its continuance 
General Gaines was occasionally highly excited, and spoke with much 
warmth, — so much so toward the conclusion as to induce this deponent to 
break off rather unceremoniously and turn to Major Bailey to settle his 
bill. 

I have endeavored to recollect as well as I can the expressions of 
General Gaines : though in some cases I may have used different words, I 
am confident that I have retained the sense of them. 

IvERsoN L. Brookes. 

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 17th of October, 1825. 

I. T. Gushing, J. P. 

Affidavit of Col, Michael Watson.* 
Georgia, Baldwin county : 

Personally appeared Michael Watson, a citizen of the county of Houston, 
who, being duly sworn, saith that in the month of August last, and, he 
believes, on or about the tenth or eleventh day of that month, that he was 
at the Indian Springs, in Monroe county, in said State ; that, in a conver- 
sation that wns held between and among several persons then at the 
Springs, Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, of the United States Army, being present, 
the subject of conversation turned upon the late Indian treaty and the 
proposed survey then about to be made by the order of his Excellency 
George M. Troup, Governor of the State of Georgia. He (Gen. Gaines) 
stated, in public company, that if Gov. Troup made the survey or attempted 
it, that he would be tried for treason and hung ; that General Gaines also 
stated that Governor Troup and his friends were intriguing demagogues ; 
that in the same conversation General Gaines manifested and expressed 
much warmth of hostile feeling toward Governor Troup and his friends. 

The conversation was boisterous in some respects ; and it excited much 
warmth of feeling in the spectators and those concerned, that the whole 
of General Gaines's conversation and observations were directed against 
the constituted authority of Georgia and the supporters of her adminis- 
tration. Michael Watson. 

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 10th day of November, 1825. 

Eli S. Shorter, J, S, C. 

In his annual message of November 8, 1825, Gov. Troup 
says : — 

* The affidavit of the Hon. C. B. Strong, laid before the Legislature by Gov, 
Troup in the same message, will be found in the memoir of Judge Strong, vol. ii. 
of thu work. 



136 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROIA. 

Tbe President having ultimately resolved to refer the treaty to Con- 
gress for reconsideration because of alleged in triple and treacheiy in 
obtaining it, the resolution adopted by the Executive to prosecute the 
survey under the act of the Legislature of the 9th day of June last was 
changed, and the change immediately communicated to the President. 
It would be uncandid, fellow-citizens, to disguise that, but for the pro- 
posed reference to Congress, the survey would have been commenced and 
prosecuted. 

The treaty was not set aside by Congress or in other respects 
annulled, although a new treaty had been formed by the Secretary 
of War, to which the authorities of Georgia paid no attention, but 
proceeded to survey and distribute the land under the old treaty, 
with which Col. CampbeU's name is honorably identified. The 
Legislature voted him the confidence and gratitude of the people 
of Georgia ; and surely that was a proud compensation for the tem- 
porary injustice which had been done him by the agents of the 
General Government, who seemed to have acted more like retained 
counsel for the hostile Indians than as seekers of truth on which 
to render an unbiased judgment. 

As the author never saw Col. Campbell, he can give no descrip- 
tion of his efibrts at the bar from his own knowledge ; and, no cor- 
respondent having performed this task, very little can be added to 
the memoir. He was a man of talents, upright and agreeable in 
liis social relations, long a trustee of the University of Georgia, 
the warm friend of popular education ; and, had he lived, there is 
no doubt he would have been called to the State Executive. He 
was the political friend, as he was the brother-in-law, of Gren. John 
Clark, both having married sisters of Col. William W. Williamson, 
one of the Georgia Commissioners. Col. Campbell died on the 
31st of July, 1828, in the forty-second year of his age. A quota- 
tion from Gov. Gilmer* will conclude the memoir : — 

Col. Campbell had none of the rowdy habits of the North Carolina 
Wilkes settlers. He avoided violence, and was courteous and kind to 
everybody. Though his talents were not of the highest order, nor his 
public speaking what might be called eloquent, he was among the most 
successful lawyers at the bar and useful members of the Legislature. He 
was very industrious, and ever ready to do the part of a good citizen. The 
amenity of his temper was constantly shown in the delight which he 
derived from pleasing the young. His house continued, as long as he lived, 
to be one of their favorite resorts. 

Col. Campbell's son John gave early proofs of the extraordinary 
acumen which has since made him the great lawyer of the South. Whilst 
he was a student of Franklin College, his father visited Athens, and was 
invited to attend a meeting of the i)emosthenian Society, of which both 




* Georgians, p. 208. 



DUNCAN G. CAMPBELL. 137 

father and son were members. Col. Campbell held forth by request upon 
the topic of debate. When he was done speaking, John asked leave to 
answer the gentleman, and so knocked all his father's conclusions into 
non sequiturs, that it was difficult to tell which had the uppermost in the 
father's feelings, — mortified vanity or gratified pride. John Campbell has 
lately been appointed an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of the 
United States, — the highest honor, except that of Chief- Justice, which can 
be conferred by the Government upon a lawyer. All who know him con- 
cur in the opinion that the office will be well filled. 

Col. CampbelFs daughter Sarah* was remarkable in early childhood 
for intellectual precocity, and in womanhood for superior attainments. 
She married Daniel Chandler, one of the handsomest and very cleverest 
young men of Georgia. He removed to Alabama, where he has long 
practised law with distinguished success. 



NOTE TO THE MEMOIR. 

As Mr. Justice Campbell, of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, has been aptly introduced in the work of Gov. Gilmer, the 
author begs leave to subjoin a sketch of that distinguished jurist, 
which was first published in the Monitor of March 8, 1843, among 
"Heads of the Alabama Legislature," which the author prepared 
for the press. This is the more appropriate, because Judge Camp- 
bell obtained license to practise law in Georgia under a special act 
of the Legislature, in 1829, of which the following is the caption : — 

An act to admit David J. Bailey, of Butts county, Hiram Hemphill, 
of Lincoln county, John A. Campbell, of Wilkes county. Gray A. 
Chandler, of Warren county, Robert McCarthy, of Monroe county, William 
A. Black, of Chatham county, and Robert Toombs, of Wilkes county, to 

glead and practise law in the several courts of law and equity in this 
tate. 

HEADS OF THE ALABAMA LEGISLATURE. 

Mr. Campbell, of Mobile, is generally considered a man of the clearest 
and most vigorous intellect in the House of Representatives. He was a 
member six years ago, and had great influence in maturing the relief law at 
the called session of 1837. Indeed, the adoption of that measure is said 
to have been owing almost entirely to his arguments for its necessity. 
As he rarely deals in generalities when he has a point to accomplish, he 
on that occasion took up the productions of the State compared with the 
indebtedness of the people, and proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that 
an extension of bank-debts and a fresh loan of five millions for circulation 
would enable the industry of the people to cancel all their embarrassments 
by the time the loans became due. This was a mode of stating the ques- 
tion which no experience at that time could gainsay; and the proposition 
of relief, in its broadest form, ripened into a statute. Whatever miscal- 



* Tho late David B. Butler, Esq., of Macon, also married a daughter of CoL 
CampbelL — M. 



% 



138 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

culation or error may have existed as to the principle, no one has ever 
suspected the perfect sincerity of Mr. Campbell in the part he acted. He 
was governed by a spirit desiring only the public good, and perhaps he is 
as ready now to admit that the plan was unsuited to the emergency as its 
strongest opponent at the called session. In those days there prevailed a 
public delirium on monetary affairs. All heads had run wild with adven- 
ture, and all minds were intent upon the remedy of expansion. What 
the result has been, every man's experience is the most conclusive tes- 
timony. 

We have adverted to this chapter in the public life of Mr. Campbell^ 
not for the purpose of judgment, but merely in illustration of that peculiar 
and convincing power of argument with which he is eminently gifted. 
At the late session, Mr. Campbell, as chairman of the Bank Committee, was 
looked to for that platform in relation to the currency and the engage- 
ments of the State which his superior information on that subject and 
his known habits of labor so well qualified him to present. A mass of 
documents unprecedented for variety and extent in the Legislature, which 
required close investigation and much time to reduce into system, was re- 
ferred to the committee. On all these Mr. Campbell bestowed the most 
searching examination, and made a report not less able than it was com- 
prehensive and satisfactory. The entire action of the House was directed 
m the main, though not in exact detail, by the suggestions of that paper 
and the bills which accompanied it. The foundation having been thus 
laid, a superstructure was afterward raised, not in every respect suitable 
to Mr. Campbell's taste, — though he submitted, after a hard and valiant 
contest, with manly deference, to overpowering numbers. 

Our position as reporter in the House enabled us to record much of the 
transactions of that body, and also to make our readers acquainted with 
its business-men. Among these Mr. Campbell stood foremost. On some 
occasions his masterly powers were exhibited with a cogency of argument 
which, if it did not command assent, was at least unanswered. His strong 
efforts (and he seldom makes any other) were listened to with a depth of 
attention which was accorded to very few speakers in the House. To the 
character of a statesman and political financier Mr. Campbell unites the 
highest honors of the law. In the Supreme Court, if he is not without a 
rival, he at least is without a superior. 

For a man of his talents, reputation, and general advantages, Mr. 
Campbell is singularly inattentive to his personal appearance and to those 
cr>uimon social blandishments which are valued not the less in public than 
in private life. He Ls cold, taciturn, reserved, — not the least symptom in 
hiK manners that he courts society, — absorbed in thought, with heavy brow, 
yet unassuming expression of countenance. At times he b pleasant, and 
iilwuvK respectful when it becomes necessary for him to converse. He 
it ib^d by Hijiuc of his political opponents to be an artful man in his own 
wu), — that he can drill his party and arrange the order of action with 
much hk'iW. We have no authority to deny this charge, other than to 
sUiU', if it be true, the usual mode of judging men fails in relation to Mr. 
Cuuipbeii- 'inhere la a total absence of all art in his looks and movements; 
though boiuc writer has said that it is the consummate office of art to con- 
ceal ui't uud thereby make it the more successful. 

Jle beeLufe t/j hold all elegance and imagination in utter contempt, as un- 
worthy a prueticai man. As a member of the Democratic party, he stands 
akme in AkUuua lor greatness of conception in all that rdates to cur 



AUaUSTIN S.CLAYTON. 189 

political system. We do not say that he has never fallen into error of 
opinion ; we cannot ascribe to him infallibility ; but, as an honest man in 
the most extensive signification of the term, Mr. Campbell enjoys uni- 
versal respect and confidence. He is a native of Georgia, and son of 
the late Col. Duncan G. Campbell, a distinguished citizen of that State. 
Mr. J. A. Campbell is probably thirty-eight years of age. 



VI. 

AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 

This distinguished man has written his own history at the bar 
and in the many situations which he has filled worthily to himself 
and usefully to the public. With regard to his ancestors, his 
nativity, education, and early life, something will be said in 
another part of this memoir. The usual course will be somewhat 
varied, by proceeding at once to the manhood of Augustin Smith 
Clayton and following him in his career of activity. 

In 1810 he was twenty-seven years of age when selected by the 
Legislature to compile the statutes of Georgia from 1800. This 
work he completed, and soon afterward prepared a volume of 
Forms for Justices of the Peace and other public officers, with the 
common and statute law applied to the duties of each. It had a 
large circulation, being the first of the kind in Georgia. With 
careful revision by L. Q. C. Lamar, Esq., another edition went 
through the press, a few copies of which may still be found in the 
offices of some of the older members of the bar and magistrates. 

His rank in the profession caused him to be elected a judge of 
the Superior Court in 1819, when there was a little more artsto- 
eracy of merit in fashion than the popular taste now chooses to 
patronize for judicial dignities or other high employments, and 
was re-elected ^ 1822. Besides performing the labors of his 
circuit faithfully and with much reputation. Judge Clayton con- 
tributed to the press many profound articles on the sources of 
Federal power, the sovereignty of the States, our Indian relations, 
and all that class of topics which divided the people of Georgia 
into two great political parties, designated as Troup and Clark, 
after the competitors for the Executive. The communications 
signed ^^Atticus/' sustaining Gov. Troup and his measures, push* 



140 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

ing the doctrine of State sovereignty far ahead of any previous 
avowals by politicians, were masterly performances, and exerted 
great influence over public opinion. Troup was elected Governor 
by the people in 1825 ; but the Legislature contained a majority 
of Clark men. The consequence was that Judge Clayton was not 
re-elected, though a candidate. He was succeeded by the Hon. 
William H. Underwood, as Judge of the Western Circuit. In 
1828, he was restored to oflSce ; and during his term the great dis- 
turbances took place in the Cherokee nation, which taxed his 
energy of character and judicial firmness to an extent of which 
some details will be given. 

In 1829, the Legislature extended the laws of Georgia over the 
territory occupied by the Cherokee Indians within the limits of 
the State, annexing it to the jurisdiction of certain bordering 
counties, by which the Western Circuit embraced a share. 

Passing over the mania which drew hundreds of adventurers 
from all quarters — home and abroad — to trespass on the public 
lands in search of gold, so that Gov. Gilmer was induced to convene 
the Legislature in 1830 several weeks in advance of the usual time, 
only two or three principal cases with which Judge Clayton became 
officially identified are here noticed. One of these was the Indian 
Tassels for killing another Indian ; a second was the case of Butler 
and Worcester, two missionaries who continued to reside in the 
nation contrary to law, which made it a penitentiary ofience for 
any white person to reside among the Indians without first taking 
an oath of allegiance to the State of Georgia, except public agents. 
The third difficulty arose by an attempt on the part of the Chero- 
kees, through their counsel, Mr. Wirt, to assert their independent 
national character before the Supreme Court of the United States 
against the alleged usurpation of Georgia. Mr. Wirt wrote a 
letter to Gov. Gilmer, suggesting the propriety of making a case 
by consent, the purport of which was communicated by Gov. Gilmer 
to Judge Clayton, under date of July 6, 1830. The following is 
the closing paragraph of Gov. Gilmer's letter* to Judge Clayton : — 

There is, too, no probability that the State of Georgia would submit to 
the orders of the court if it should determine that the laws of the State 
in relatioD to the ludiaos were void. It is therefore important that do 
case should be transferred from the courts of the State to the Federal 
couils. I have been induced to write thus freely and fully, because it is 
understood at Washington City that you are desirous that the Federal 
court should assume the jurisdiction of determining the extent of the 



* Qeorgiant), p. 867. 




AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 141 

right of the State to govern its Indian people. I have no douht hut that 
the opposition are very desirous of bringing that question before the 
Federal court, in order to keep up the resistance of the whites and the 
half-breeds to the removal of the Cherokees. Our lawyers ought to know 
the object of the opposition, and refuse to be concerned in such a case. 

At August Term, 1830, of Clark Superior Court, in his charge 
to the Grand Jury, Judge Clayton said : — * 

Besides the fact officially announced in the council of the Indians lately 
assembled, I have received information from the Executive branch of this 
Government that counsel have been employed by the Cherokee nation to 
raise, for the adjudication of the Supreme Court of the United States, the 
question '^ whether the State has a right to pass laws for the government 
of the Indians residing within its limits." Now, without intending the 
least disrespect to that court, to whose Constitutional authority this and 
all other State courts will, I hope, cheerfully submit, this question can 
never go up from a court in which I preside until the people of the State 
yield it, either from a conviction of error, ascertained by their own 
tribunals, or the more awful sense of their weakness to retain it. 

Again, in another part of the same charge, he says : — " So long, 
however, as the law remains unrepealed, the country has a very 
solemn pledge that it shall be faithfully and impartially adminis- 
tered so far as I am concerned. I only require the aid of public 
opinion and the arm of the Executive authority, and no court on 
earth besides our own shall ever be troubled with this question." 

Though Georgia declined obeying the mandate of the Supreme 
Court citing her to appear before that tribunal, the case of the 
Cherokee nation was submitted and determined, after solemn 
argument for the plaintiffs.f The Indian Tassels, who was convicted 
of murder, sought the protection of the Federal courts in vain. 
Sentence was executed in defiance of an informal service of pro- 
cess, and no collision between the two sovereignties was produced 
thereby.! The missionaries! also tried their fortunes in the 
Supreme Court, and failed to obtain their liberation ; whereupon 
the subject was brought before Congress, in June, 1832, on a 
memorial from Dutchess county. New York, by Mr. Pendleton, to 
authorize their discharge by habeas corpus^ — which was laid on the 
table in the House of Representatives by a vote of 105 to 57. 
Judge Clayton was a member of the House at the time, but from 
a proper sense of delicacy did not speak on the question. The 
rights of Georgia were ably vindicated by her other sons on the 
floor, and among them the Hon. Henry G. Lamar and the late 



♦ P. Clayton's pamphlet, p. 9. f 5 Peters's Rep. p. 1. 

X Georgians, p. 873. \ 6 Peters's Rep. p. 515. 



142 BENCH AND BAH OF OE0R6IA. 

Hon. Thomas F. Foster, both of whom replied to the assaults on 
Georgia. 

It is only an act of justice to the liberality of the Executive to 
say that, when the twelve men who had been convicted in Gwinnett 
Superior Court, at September Term, 1831, for illegal residence in 
the Cherokee territory, arrived at the penitentiary, and before they 
were imprisoned, Gov. Gilmer* ofiered them all a full pardon if 
they would give assurance not to violate the law again. They all 
accepted the terms and were discharged, except Worcester and 
Butler, who preferred sufiering as martyrs to their principles, — as 
they assumed by their obstinate course. 

A little anecdote went the rounds of the newspapers at the time, 
in substance that Judge Clayten attended church in Philadelphia 
on the Sabbath, when a very earnest prayer was offered by the 
minister in behalf of the poor missionaries imprisoned in Georgia, 
and for the cruel judge who passed sentence of condemnation 
upon them ! Little did the minister and audience suspect that the 
*' cruel judge" was present and heard the prayer, and who, no 
doubt, heartily joined in the supplication. 

As the case of the missionaries excited much attention, a more 
particular notice is here given of the proceedings. The defend- 
ants, Elizur Butler and Samuel A. Worcester, were indicted at 
September Term, 1831, of Gwinnett Superior Court, for the offence 
of residing in that part of the Cherokee nation attached by the 
laws of Georgia to said county, without a license or permit, 
and without having taken the oath to support and defend the 
Constitution and laws of the State of Georgia, as required by the 
act of the Legislature passed December 22, 1830. They severally 
pleaded to the jurisdiction of the court. The following extract 
shows the nature of the pleas : — 

And the said Samuel A. Worcester, in his own proper person, comes 
and says that this court ought not to take further cognizance of the action 
and prosecution aforesaid, because, he says, that on the 15th day of July, 
in the year 1831, he was and still is a resident in the Cherokee nation; 
and that the said supposed crime or crimes, and each of them, were oom- 
mittcd, if committed at all, at the town of New Echota, in the said Chero- 
kee nation, out of the jurisdiction of this court, and not in the county of 
Gwinnett, or elsewhere within the jurisdiction of this court. And this 
defendant saith that he is a citizen of the State of Vermont, one of the 
United States of America, and that he entered the aforesaid Cherokee 
nation in the capacity of a duly-authorized missionary of the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, under the authority of the 




*Oeorgiam«, p. 421. 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 148 

PresideDt of tbe United States, and has not since been required by bim 
to leave it ; tbat be was, at tbe time of bis arrest, engaged in preacbing 
tbe gospel to tbe Cbcrokee Indians, and in translating tbe Sacred Scrip- 
tores into tbeir language, witb tbe permission and approval of tbe said 
Cberokee nation, and in accordance witb tbe bumane policy of tbe Govern- 
ment of tbe United States for tbe civilization and improvement of tbe 
Indians; and tbat bis residence tbere for tbis purpose is tbe residence 
cbarged in tbe aforesaid indictment ; and tbis defendant furtber saitb tbat 
tbis prosecution tbe State of Georgia ougbt not to bave or maintain, be- 
cause, be saitb, tbat several treaties bave from time to time been entered 
into between tbe United States and tbe Cberokee nation of Indians, to 
wit: — 

At Hopewell November 28, 1785, 

Holston July 2, 1791, 

Pbiladelpbia June 26, 1794, 

Tellico October 2, 1798, 

Tellico October 25, 1804, 

Tellico October 27, 1805, 

Wasbington City January 7, 1805, 

Wasbington City Marcb 22, 1816, 

tbe Cbickasaw Council-House September 14, 1816, 

tbe Cberokee Agency July 8, 1817, 

Wasbington City February 27, 1819, 

All wbicb said treaties bave been duly ratified by tbe Senate of tbe United 
States of America ; and by wbicb treaties tbe United States of America 
acknowledge tbe said Cberokee nation to be a sovereign nation, autborized 
to govern tbemselves and all persons wbo bave settled witb in tbeir terri- 
tory, free from any rigbt of legislative interference by tbe several States 
composing tbe United States of America in reference to acts done witbin 
tbeir own territory ; and by wbicb treaties tbe wbole of tbe territory now 
occupied by tbe Cberokee nation, on tbe east side of tbe Mississippi, bas 
been solemnly guaranteed to them ; all of wbicb treaties are existing trea- 
ties at tbis day, and in full force. 

The plea alleges other matter to render void the action of tbe 
Georgia Legislature over the Cherokee Territory, and thus con- 
cludes : — 

Therefore tbis court bas no jurisdiction to cause tbis defendant to make 
further or other answer to tbe said bill of indictment, or furtber to try 
and punish this defendant for tbe said supposed offence or offences alleged 
in tbe bill of indictment, or any of them ; and therefore tbis defendant 
prays judgment whether be shall be held bound to answer furtber to said 
indictment. 

Judge Clayton, wbo presided at the trial, overruled the plea, 
and, upon hearing the evidence, the defendant was convicted by 
the jury. The following order or sentence was then passed by 
the court : — 

The State vs. B. F. Thompson and others. Indictment for residing in 
the Cherokee nation without license. Verdict, Guilty. 



f 




144 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

The State vs, Elizur Butler, Samuel A. Worcester, and others. iDdiot- 
ment for residing in the Cherokee nation without license. Verdict, 
Guilty. 

The defendants in hoth of the ahove cases shall be kept in close ens* 
todj by the sheriff of this county until they can be transported to the 
penitentiary of this State ; and the keeper thereof is hereby directed to 
receive them and each of them into his custody, and keep them and each 
of them at hard labor in said penitentiary for and during the term of four 
years. 

A writ of error was allowed by Associate-Justice Baldwin, and 
a mandate issued to the State of Georgia to show cause why the 
judgment of the Superior Court should not be reversed by the 
Supreme Court of the United States, which mandate was served 
on Gov. Lumpkin and on Charles J. Jenkins, Esq., Attorney- 
General, returnable on the second Monday in January, 1832. The 
exemplification of the proceedings in Gwinnett Superior Court was 
certified on the 28th day of November, 1831, by John G. Park, 
Esq., the Clerk. The State authorities paid no attention to the 
mandate, and declined appearing in the appellate court. 

The case was argued for the plaintiff in error by Messrs. Sar- 
geant, Wirt, and E. W. Chester. The last point taken was, — 

4. That the indictment, conviction, and sentence, being founded upon 
a statute of Georgia which was unconstitutional and void, were themselves 
also void and of no effect, and ought to bo reversed. 

The opinion of the court, delivered by Chief-Justice Marshall, 
was very elaborate, reviewing all the authorities, with conclusion : — 

It is the opinion of this court that the judgment of the Superior Court 
for the county of Gwinnett, in the State of Georgia, condemning Samuel 
A. Worcester to hard labor in the penitentiary of Georgia, for four vears, 
was pronounced by that court under color of a law which is void, as being 
repugnant to the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States, and 
ought, therefore, to be reversed and annulled. 

The same judgment was given in the case of Elizur Butler, 
plaintiff in error, vs. The State of Georgia, and a special mandate 
was ordered to the Superior Court of Gwinnett county to carry 
the judgment of the Supreme Court into execution. 

Again the State authorities heeded not the judicial thunder from 
Washington City, and the missionaries were kept in prison, work- 
ing out their term, until at length they notified the Governor that 
they had abandoned their cases in the Supreme Court, and all 
expectation of relief from that quarter, and threw themselves on 
the clemency of the Executive. Georgia having vindicated her 
sovereignty, and no sign of opposition to the exercise of her rights 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 145 

appearing from any quarter, Gov. Lumpkin but reflected the wishes 
of his constituents when he granted a pardon to these misguided 
men and set them at full liberty. 

Butler and Worcester returned to the Cherokee nation, resuming 
their missionary labors, and when the Indians removed they accom- 
panied them to the West, where, in all probability, they still reside. 
To show the work they were engaged in some ten years ago in the 
Cherokee nation west of the Mississippi, a report from Mr. Wor- 
cester to the United States Agent is here introduced, from Docu- 
ment No. 4 (p. 360) of the House of Representatives, which 
accompanied the President's Message to Congress in 1846 : — • 

Park Hill, Augast 18, 1846. 

Sir : — In reply to your communication of July 3, received August 12, 
permit me to say, first, in regard to the number of preachers in the Chero- 
kee nation, under the care of the American Board of Commissioners for 
Foreign Missions, there are at present, — 

Missionaries. — Rev. Elizur Butler, M.D.,* at Fairfield, 

Rev. Worcester Willey, at Dwight, 
Rev. S. A. Worcester, at Park Hill— 3. 

Native Preachers. — Rev. John Huss, at Honey Creek, 

Rev. Stephen Foreman, at Park Hill — 2. Total, 6. 

Rev. D. S. Buttrick still resides at Dwight, but has asked and received 
a dismission from the service, being in very feeble health. 

The numbers of churches under the care of the missionaries of the 
same board, as nearly as known, are, — 

Church at Dwight 45 

Fairfield 88 

Park Hill 35 

Mount Zion 30 

Honey Creek 51 

Total 249 

The only schools at present under the care of the board, in the nation, 
are a female boarding-school at Dwight, and neighborhood schools at Fair- 
field and Park Hill. The last-named has, for some time past, been partly 
supported by tuition-fees from the scholars. Respecting the schools at 
Dwight and Fairfield, you will, I suppose, receive information from the 
missionaries at those stations. The school at this place the past year has 
had only about 33 scholars in all, attending more or less. Average 
about lo. Five were whites, (four of them my own children,) the rest 
Cherokees. 

Ton are aware, I suppose, of the existence of the printing-press under 

• Dr. Butler died at Van Buren, Arkansas, Febniary 4, 1857, aged sixtj-two 
rs. 
Vol. L— 10 



146 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

mj care at this station. Since mj last report to your predecessor in offioei 
which was dated July 18, 1845, we have printed, — 

In the CJierokce Language, 

The Cherokee Almanac for 1846, paobs in all. 

half English 12mo 86 pp 1000 copies... 86,000 

Cherokee Primer, fifth edition 24mo 24 pp 6000 «' ...120,000 

Sermon and Tract 24mo 24 pp 6000 «♦ ...120,000 

^276,000 

In the Choctaw Language, 

Regeneration,Repentance,and Judgment 12mo, 28 pp., 2000 copies... 66,000 
Salvation by Faith, and other pieces.... *' 12 pp., 2000 '* ... 24,000 

Frand Detected and Exposed <* 9 pp., 2000 ** ...18,000 

Choctow Arithmetic " 72 pp., 2000 «* ...144,000 

Choctaw Spolling-Book 18mo, 86 pp., 1000 «* ...86,000 

Choctaw Spelling-Book " 108 pp., 1000 " ...108,000 



-886,000 




In the Creek Language, 
Moscogee Catechism 24mo, 31 pp., 600 copies... 18,600 

Total pages 680,600 

We have prepared at this station, and had printed in Boston, a Singing- 
Book in the Cherokee language, consisting of 88 pages, 8vo, 600 copies. 

Very respectfully, yours, 

8. A. Worcester. 
Colonel James MoKissigk, 

United States Agent for tJie Cherokeett. 

In November, 1831, the Troup party, to which Judge Clayton 
belonged, had a majority in the Legislature, and of course the 
power of electing judges for all the circuits, except one or two 
which had to be chosen at another session. Owing to some de- 
cision which he had made, sustaining the right of the Indians to 
dig gold on the lands to which their possessory title had not been 
extinguished, he rendered himself unpopular, and he was superseded 
in office by the Hon. Charles Dougherty. There is no doubt that 
Judge Clayton was intensely mortified at his defeat. He felt con- 
scious of having acted right, according to his honest convictions 
of duty, without regard to the caprice or interest of lottery-specu- 
lators or other classes, who considered it almost a crime to allow 
that the Indians had any rights at all in competition with the de- 
sires of the white man. It was not in the nature of Judge Clayton 
to hesitate between principle and expediency. The latter had to 
yield at any cost, as became a virtuous man and upright judge. 

The confidence and respect of his political friends did not in the 
least abate, though he was not continued on the bench. There 
being a vacancy in Congress caused by the resignation of Gov. 
Lumpkin, they nominated him to fill it, and he was elected. A new 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 147 

career was thus opened to him, in which he acquitted himself with 
distinguished ability. The two leading measures which engaged 
most of his attention in the House of Representatives were the 
Tariff and Bank of the United States. His course on both will 
briefly appear in these pages. 

While the bill proposing a reduction of duties on imports was 
under consideration in the House of Representatives, June 10, 
1832, Judge Clayton offered an amendment to the effect, — 

1. That, after the first day of January, 1835, all duties should be ad 
valorem^ and for no other object but revenue. 

2. That, for the first year, all duties above should be reduced to 35 per 
ceut.; for the second, 25; and after that they should be regularly 15 per 
cent., until altered by law. 

3. That, for the purpose of constitutionally and equally protecting 
manufacturers, Congress should freely give its consent to any State that 
chose to manufacture to lay such duties as it might deem necessary to 
encourage that business within its own limits upon any imports or exports 
to or from any foreign nation : Provided, such duties were paid into the 
Federal treasury. 

He at the same time delivered a carefully-prepared speech, filling 
a pamphlet of more than forty pages of large size. In the first 
paragraph he remarked : — 

Mr. Chairman : — The question before us is ati important one; and if 
appreciated in the degree of its profound interest, and the still more 
absorbing character of its probable results, it involves a responsibility too 
big for utterance. To my mind, admonished by facts, and warned by the 
feelings of the country, I am almost tempted to predict that, unless au 
auspicious issue attends the present deliberations, they arc the last that 
will ever engage the attention of this body within these walls. It is not 
now a question of dollars and cents, but of liberty and equality. 
Every thing done on this occasion will soon be delivered over to history, 
and he who now stands by the cause of freedom, posterity will stand by 
him. A fame of enduring honor awaits the firm, and a name of lasting 
infisimy shall follow the faithless. 

Judge Clayton then proceeded to examine the powers of the 
Federal Government, resorting copiously to the fathers of the 
Constitution and other statesmen of that day. He denied that 
burdens could be imposed on one section of the country for the 
benefit of another section. His arguments were searching, and 
well supported by authority. To abridge them would be unjust, 
and to insert them entire would occupy too much space in this 
memoir. After showing the unconstitutionality and injustice of a 
tariff for protection, and enumerating the grievances of the South, 
Judge Clayton said : — 



148 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

These arc the oppressions of which I promised to speak, and which rise 
superior to all law, and would of themselves^ though they violated do 
written principle of the Constitution, justify a people ''in the pursuit of 
life, liberty, and happiness'' to provide themselves with new forms of 
government. I stated in a previous part of this argument that an admis- 
sion on the part of our adversaries that the consumer pays the tax would 
be sufficient for my purpose in establishing the great inequality of the 
burdens, and that it rested upon the Southern people. I think I have 
made out the case. I will now attempt to show what is veiy much dif*- 
puted, — that the producer pays the tax, or that the coincidence between the 
producer and consumer is so little variant as to make no sensible difference 
in the two characters. 

I shall show it in three relations : first, in that of an individual, 
secondly, as a family, and, lastly, as a whole country ; and I shall select 
the article of cotton for the illustration. If all the cotton of the South, 
which is said to be one million of bales, was made by one individual, and 
he were to carry it to Liverpool, sell it for cash, (say $30,000,000,) lay it 
out in goods, and bring them to this country, he would have to pay one- 
half in duties. This, however, it is said, returns to him when he sells 
out the goods to the various consumers. But as money, which is the only 
free-trade article in the world, is as much property as goods, and as liable 
to taxation, suppose, instead of bringing back goods, the individual should 
bring back the proceeds of his cotton in ca^hj and should find a duty upon 
that as well as goods : does not every one perceive that his fifteen millions 
of taxes would go into the public treasury without the hope of any future 
recovery, and consequently, as producer, he will have paid the tax on the 
whole of that article ? Xow, that same result would run through the sales 
of all the planters if they sold the cotton themselves, and paid the tax on 
their money instead of paying it on the articles they consume. 

2. I contend that the consumption of a family whose head is a pro- 
ducer extends to all persons that draw upon his produce for any services 
rendered him. That is to say, his blacksmith, tailor, carpenter, school- 
master, shoemaker, physician, and indeed all whose labor he has employed, 
are as much his family as if they lived in the same house with him, and, 
to the extent of their several demands against him, are, with him, not only 
consumers, but producers ; for his production constitutes a part of their 
production, and with it they purchase their articles of consumption. By 
reason of this connection, unless the producer has a balance left after 
defraying the expenses of his family, he is the payer of all the taxes to 
which his crop has been applied. And who, I would ask, in any part 
of the South, is able, under such a burden of duties, to meet all his engage- 
ments ? I know I am as economical and saving a planter as any of my 
neighbors, and I declare to this House, if it were not for other resources 
which it has been my good fortune to enjoy, my planting-interest would 
not have supported my iamily : and this, I can safely say, is the condition 
of thousands upon thousands. 

3. The tariff-system proceeds upon the principle that the Northern 
manufacturer cannot labor as cheap as the English manufacturer. And 
what is thought to be the difference ? Surely, this is indicated by the 
average per cent, of duties laid upon the articles which the last fabricates; 
and that, we have seen, is fifty per cent. Everybody perceives the Ameri- 
can manufacturer cannot compete with the European. What is to be 
done ? The former looks away to the South^ and there finds a people 




AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 149 

who make the raw material that supplies the latter, and for which they 
receive his manufactares. The Northern manufacturer immediately sets 
ahout a contrivance to cut off the trade between these two parties. What 
is it ? By the artful device of legislation he imposes a duty of fifty per 
cent, on the foreign manufactures : this at once raises them to the price 
of his own. Now, what is the effect — nay, what is the real motive — of this 
measure ? Is it not, first, to divert the trade from the European, and, 
second, to divert the raw material to the American, manufacturer? Sup- 
pose, then, it should succeed to the extent of the wishes of the friends of 
the tariff, that the trade with Europe should cease altogether, and every 
pound of cotton should go to the North : is there any man so blind as not 
to see that the producers of this article have not only lost their former 
market, where they were in the habit of getting what they wanted at half- 
price, but have been compelled to exchange it in another market at a loss, 
by way of bounty, of half its exchangeable value ? By this process the 
English manufacturing-labor is raised to the price of the American, and 
actually done at the expense of the Southern planter. Then, as producers 
of the article of cotton, they do most unequivocally throw into the lap of 
the Northerner the fifty per cent, which raises the labor of the English 
manufacturer. Thus I have shown, as an individual, as a family, and as 
a country, the producer pays the taxes of imports. But, I will repeat, 
it is enough for us, and more than we can bear, to pay it as consumers. 

It is needless for me to say that this is the effect produced upon all our 
valuable staples in the South ; and we have now a new article of produc- 
tion which will be subjected to its ravenous appetite. I allude to the 
immensely valuable goldmines stretching from Virginia to Alabama. 
Every dollar that is raised by the gold-digger — and surely no one works 
harder for his money — will be immediately divided with the rapacious 
manufacturer. Because it is gold, and almost money itself, it will not 
escape the fate of cotton, rice, and tobacco ; for they are taken from the 
earth by the same hard labor, and quite as convertible into money. Little 
does the hard-working miner dream that, while standing in water to his 
knees, with a scorching sun blistering his back, every stroke which is 
applied to the unyielding rock presents a case in which one is for himself 
and the other for a Northern master. 

Amplifying these views still further, Judge Clayton referred to 
the examination of Dr. Franklin before a committee of Parliament 
previous to the Revolution, in which he stated that "an external 
tax is a duty laid on commodities imported ; that duty is added to 
the first cost, and other charges on the commodity, and when it is 
offiered for sale makes a part of the price," and then proceeded: — 

The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Stewart) has said such has been 
the improvement of machinery in England that one million of hands can 
perform the labor of two hundred and fifty millions. Then, sir, just mark 
the consequence : if labor is multiplied two hundred and fifty fold, an 
article must be cheapened almost in the same ratio. 

But, sir, if high duties cheapen articles, there must be a point to which, 
if the duties are raised, the goods will come at tiothing. If the gentleman 
will sit down, and, with his immense powers of calculation, just demon- 
strate that exact point to my satisfaction, from that moment I am a tariff- 




150 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

roan : I will give up ni j opposition and fall into the ranks. I greatly fear, 
however, that it will turn out like the case of the stoves. You have all 
heard of the Yankee who, in describing the great advantages of his stoves 
to an Irishuan, said, among other things, not that high taxes cheapened 
the article, but that they saved half the firewood. ''Then," said the 
Irishman, "I will take two of them and save the whole." 

Why is it, Mr. Chairman, if high duties cheapen articles, that so miny 
letters from manufacturers have been read upon this floor, stating that 
their business will be utterly ruined if the duties are reduced? That 
must be a bad rule that don't work both ways. One would suppose that 
if you raised a duty from a given point, and the price of the article fell in 
consequence of it, it would surely rise up to the same price if you took 
the same duty off. This is a very curious matter, Mr. Cnairman. Would 
you believe it ? the country presents this singular aspect : — one portion is 
crying to be relieved of taxes, without which they must be ruined ; while 
the other part bitterly complains that, if you take off their taxes, thry will 
be prostrated ! I would rather gues»y meaning no offensive allusion, that 
this fact points to the quarter where live the tax-paying consumers. 

This same gentleman made another remark, at which I should have felt, 
if not contempt, at least indignant, if I had not believed that just at that 
moment he became greatly shortened of ideas, and that he did not know 
exactly what to say, for everybody saw that he was evidently stumped, 
I mean his saying that the Southern people wanted to make the Northern 
free laborers slaves to their free negroes. For the reason just mentioned, 
I will pass over this came-by -chance piece of wit, and examine his doc- 
trine as to the great difference between free and slave labor. Mr. Chair- 
man, this distinction has been mentioned frequently on this floor, and I 
confess it has excited my supreme disgust every time. What do they 
mean ? Does the offspring of that very ancestry who made not only their 
livelihood, but the very fortunes which now constitute the capital of the 
American system, by trading in human flesh, — who robbed fathers of their 
children, children of their fathers, husbands of their wives, and wives of 
their husbands, and carried them to be sold to the Southern States, — now 
dare to reproach me with the sin of slavery H Oh, no, sir ! it cannot be ! 
They greatly mistake the matter if they think we feci the slightest emo- 
tion at such a censure. The only wonder is how it can be made without 
a blush. 

But, sir, I have lately been as far as Philadelphia, (for the first time in 
my life,) that city of brotherly love, and wish gentlemen to explain some 
things which I saw there, first asking them if they make any difference 
there heivreen free najro iahor nud free tchiic lalxyr^ — for these two classes 
seemed to perform promiscuously all the menial services. If they do, 
then I would beg leave to have these difficulties solved. In the hotel 
where I stayed a free negro waited on my table and a white man cleaned 
my boots : which of these was the free labor ? They were both equally 
polite, and they both made the same foot'Scrapi at; bow when 1 gave them 
a quarter of a dollar. I saw in the same city a free negro mounted on the 
box of a coach, and a white man behind it: the latter let out the grandee 
which it contained at the door, while the former sat like a lord on hb 
seat. Which was the free labor in this case ? This is only one class of 
service. 

Now, sir, I happen to know something of the free labor in cotton-facto- 
ries^ When the factory in which I am concerned first started, we hid a 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 151 

good old honest gentleman from the North connected with us, and we 
commenced chiefly with white hands. He happened to hring with him a 
printed copy of rales and regulations, such as are used in Northern facto- 
rieS; and which he wished adopted in ours. They had a striking analogy 
to penitentiary regulations. They required that the poor little hands 
should he at their work hy light, should have three-quarters of an hour to 
eat their breakfast, an hour at dinner, should labor in winter until seven 
o'clock at night, should have a part of their wages remitted for any part 
of the machinery which they broke or injured, every skein they tangled, 
every five minutes they were absent, — indeed, just enough of pains and 
penalties to take all their wages. Besides, the strap was to be used if 
neces.sary. It is scarcely necessary to say, Mr. Chairman, such rules were 
scouted from our establishment. We soon told our friend the free people 
of the South would not bear that kind of regimen; indeed, it would hardly 
do for our slaves. Now, sir, where is the difference between this kind of 
labor and slave labor ? I can tell you, sir, it is only in the color of the 
skin and the duration of the service. The same capital that buys a slave 
for life can hire one for a day ; and, during these respective periods, the 
quality of the service is exactly the same. 

But, sir, this very distinction serves to show what power will finally do 
in this matter. If, under the present tariff-system, it is boldly claimed 
for free labor, as it is called, a legislative privilege over slave labor, what 
will they not do when we begin to manufacture with our slaves ? If we 
should be driven to this business, which I verily believe we can more 
profitably conduct at the South than it is at the North, will not the same 
power which sets up the right of preference now exact it hereafter by 
some discriminating tax upon slave-labor productions over those of free 
labor ? No doubt of it. So that, if this distinction is to last, I boldly 
affirm we cannot live together, and the sooner we part the better. 

In the speech just quoted, Judge Clayton made a statement 
similar to the following, respecting the profits of the factory near 
Athens : — 

Letter from Judge Clayton to the Editor of the Globe. 

Mr. Blair : — I notice in the Boston Courier an extract of a letter from 
me in answer to one asking information on the subject of a cotton-factory 
in which I am concerned, for the use of the New York Convention. I 
regret the whole letter was not published, and ask now the favor to have 
it done, and especially to give its true date, for I know it was written in 
time for the Convention, which met in October. The letter purports to 
have been written on the 7th December, 1831, and the garbled extract is 
intended to convict me of inconsistency. There is not, however, the 
slightest difficulty in this thing, and I am glad the matter is so much 
questioned as not only to give great uneasiness to the manufacturing gen- 
tlemen, but to afford me an opportunity of exposing their long-concealed 
impositions. In the month of January last our company purchased out 
the Northern partner, which made it necessary to go into a full investiga- 
tion of our concerns, and to take an accurate account of every thing we 
had done, which had never before been even attempted ; for most of our 
yarns and cloths had been placed in the hands of distant agents and scat- 
tered throughout the State, from whom we had not received regular 




152 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORQIA. 

returns. Since my arrival here I have been advised of the settlement, and 
the following are some of the extracts of letters on the subject. 

One of the partners writes, under date of Feb. 9, 1832 : — " The old 
gentleman hates to give up. He sajs we are making at the least calcula- 
tion 200 per cent, clear." My son, on the 15th of April, informs me that, 
after much difficulty with our Northern partner, he claimed nearly twice 
as much as the rest conceived to be due. The affair was referred to arbi- 
trators of his own choosing, and their award gave the following uncommon 

"Capital, $4004 98— His nett profits, $4182 78." 

This included the business from about the 1st of January, 1830, up to 
the Ist of January, 1832. 

One of the arbitrators writes, 2d of May : — " You have no doubt been 
informed of the settlement of the factory-business. Thereby I had a peep 
into your affairs, and, without publishing it abroad, 1 will say that beyond 
all doubt it is the best investment of money in Georgia, so far as I know 
or believe. It is a great business indeed, and increasing in profit." 

By this time, 1 apprehend, all the inconsistency has vanished. When 
I wrote in September (as I believe) we had made no dividend, nor had 
we down to that time done any thing but spend money, for we kept 
increasing our machinery from the proceeds of the factory 3 but, as well 
as I can now recollect, that letter gives a flattering account of our future 
prospects, which seem to have been even ''brighter" than I had anticipated. 
But for the purchase above mentioned we should not have known our true 
situation perhaps for a year to come. As soon, however, as 1 did know 
it, I was determined the world should know the truth about it; and I only 
wish, instead of trying to smother its effect, the example could be followed 
by those gentry who do not like to give up their cent, per cent. 

1 will take this occasion to correct the report of my speech, as far as it 
is given. I am made to say that I had '' operated as a sponge upon my 
neighbors, and had sucked up this from their hard earnings." This is 
not what I said. My remarks were these : "If the capital invested by the 
company to which I belong, say somewhere about 30,000 dollars, has 
doubled itself in two years, what is the consequence ? — The gentleman 
from Tennessee, (Mr. Bell,) who so eloquently painted the exactions and 
influence of wealth, and the miseries which the sudden and rapid accumu- 
lation of money must create in any community, spoke truly when he said 
sonic one must lose when another gains. Now, sir, apply this truth to 
the fact I have related. Thirty thousand dollars, in two years, have been 
soaked up as with a sponge within a certain circumference. While we 
have gained it, our neighbors have lost it; and though they are too gene- 
rous to complain of u»j knowing that neither our motives or feelings so 
enter into the system as to desire its continuance at^ the expense of princi- 
ple, yet this is its true effect throughout this whole country. And yet it 
must be helped by the hard-handed labor of our honest planters, to whose 
fruits all other trades and professions must look for support." 

A. S. Clayton. 

July, 1882. 

As a zealous opponent of the protective policy, Judge Clayton 
actively assisted other gentlemen who had assembled at the college 
commencement in Athens, August, 1832, to get up a State Con- 
vention against the Tariff. For this purpose a circular, signed by 



AUGUSTIN 8. CLATTON. 158 

the Hon. J. M. Berrien, A. S. Clayton, and others of the com- 
mittee, was issued, inviting the people of Georgia to send delegates 
to an Anti-Tariff State Convention, to be held at Milledgeville in 
November then next ensuing ; in compliance with which, primary 
meetings were held in most of the counties and delegates chosen. 
The result was the assemblage of delegates from sixty counties 
»(four-fifths of the whole number in the State) in a deliberative body 
distinguished for intellect and high moral position, over which Gov. 
Gilmer presided. A list of delegates and a more particular account 
of its proceedings may be seen in another part'" of this work. The 
Committee of Twenty-One, to report matter for action, consisted 
of Messrs. Blackshear, Berrien, Forsyth, Cumming, Clayton, Cuth- 
bert, Gamble, Reese, Spalding, Tait, Rockwell, Beali, of Bibb, 
Taylor, of Burke, Bailey, Warner, Dawson, Haynes, Gordon, of 
Putnam, Clark, of Henry, Janes, and Harris. 

Most of these names are well known to the public ; several 
belong to fame. 

Judge Clayton had another opportunity of assailing the Tariff, 
at the great State-Rights meeting in Milledgeville, November 13, 
1833, over which the Hon. C. B. Strong presided. Hon. N. C. 
Sayre and Hon. A. B. Longstreet were the Secretaries. On mo- 
tion of Judge Clayton, it was 

Resolved J That a committee of thirteen be appointed by the chairman, 
to prepare resolutions expressing the sentiments of the State-Rights party 
in this State, and report to this meeting at its sitting. 

The following gentlemen were appointed the committee : — Judge A. S. 
Clayton, Judge William H. Crawford, Dr. W. C. Daniell, Col. Seaborn 
Jones, R. W. Habersham, D. P. Hillhouse, Col. S. Rockwell, Col. A. H. 
Chappell, Col. Geo. H. Young, Gen. R. A. Beall, Col. Newton, Gen. Eli 
Warren, and Judge Charles Dougherty. 

The report of the committee was made by Judge Clayton, as 
chairman, condemning the Tariff, Proclamation and Force Bill, and, 
among other things, — 

Resolved, That the present meeting be organized into an association to 
be denominated the STATE-RIGHTS PARTY OF GEORGIA, and 
recommend meetings in all the counties for the purpose of constituting 
similar associations to be connected with that which will be formed at 
Milledgeville as the central association. 

Resolved J That the doctrines of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, as 
construed and understood by Mr. Jefferson, and triumphantly acted upon 
in 1825, '26 and '27, in this State, constitute the creed of the State-Eights 
party of Georgia, and that, as all unconstitutional laws are null and void, 
we will, whenever the proper exigency arises, resist them in any manner 
the sovereign power of the State may order and direct. 

* Memoir of R. A. BeaU. 




154 BENCH AND BAB OF GE0B6IA. 

The report was taken up by sections and agreed to. This was 
the first "platform" ever laid down in Georgia by apolitical party 
with a view to organization. 

It is not deemed necessary to follow Judge Clayton any farther 
in his consistent and persevering efforts to abolish a protective 
tariff. His sentiments have been fully announced. 

His course on the Bank question will next be considered. How 
much earlier than 1830 Judge Clayton waged open hostility to the 
Bank of the United States, the author is not prepared to state ; but 
in that year he published a very caustic review of Mr. McDuflSe's 
celebrated report in Congress vindicating the institution. He 
charged that the main and most forcible arguments of the report 
were plagiarized from certain proceedings in Philadelphia adopted 
by the leading supporters of the bank, among whom were the best 
legal and commercial minds of the North. Judge Clayton knew 
the power of his adversary, and employed his utmost ability to 
overwhelm him. The review was artistically pungent, and replete 
with scornful declamatioD, as if he expected to conclude all reply. 
Mr. McDuffie issued his manifesto in strong but courteous language, 
declaring that the report was entirely his own work, and that the 
imputation of plagiarism was technically a lihel^ for which a court 
of law would grant him redress, if he chose to invoke that tribunal; 
and that he required no other expounder of the doctrine of libel 
than the learned jurist who had perpetrated it upon him to serve a 
cause. The controversy did not become personal ; nor was it 
intended as such. The two gentlemen respected each other's cha- 
racter, while they warred as giants, with sword and shield, for honor- 
able victory. They afterward served in Congress together, and 
the matter was no doubt forgotten. A public dinner was given to 
Mr. McDufiie at Athens, in 1833, at which Judge Clayton per- 
formed the civilities with his usual elegance and humor. 

On the 2d of March, 1832, the House of Representatives had 
under consideration a resolution offered by Mr. Clayton in the fol- 
lowing words : — 

Resolved, That a select committee be appointed to examine into the 
affairs of the Bank of the United States, with power to send for person^ 
and papers, and to report the result of their inquiries to this House. 

The speech delivered by Mr. Clayton in support of his motion 
for a committee covers some forty pages in pamphlet. In the 
beginning, he stated that his opposition to the bank was no recent 
thing, — that he had been writing against it for seven years, — and he 
referred to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. McDuffie) to 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 155 

bear him out in the assertion, for he had ^' not even spared his own 
far-famed report." 

Upon all subjects which he discussed, Judge Clayton evinced 
much warmth, and at times used expressions which his friends and 
admirers had cause to regret. For instance, the word italicized by 
the author (a liberty which he takes with reluctance) in the fol- 
lowing sentence is not in the very best taste ; and certainly a better 
word could have been selected to make as strong an impression : — 

When I perceive gentlemen affirm ing, with so much earnestness, that 
it is all-important to recharter the bank at this time, that it is unfair and 
UDgeneroos to assail it upon political considerations, and that the present 
measure is intended not so much for the purpose of faithful inquiry as to 
avoid the exercise of honest responsibility, I stand ready to declare, by 
every sanction imposed under the highest solemnity, — nay, by all my 
hopes of peace here or hereafter, — that my opposition to the bank is founded 
upon its sole, separate, naked, and individual unworthiness, unconnected 
with any consideration save the damning influence it has already exerted, 
and will continue to spread, over every interest in this young and growing 
country. 

After many allegations to prejudice the public, founded no doubt 
in sound policy respecting the bank. Judge Clayton said : — 

I do not intend to go fully into the merits of the bank question at 
this time : I hope on another occasion to probe that matter to the bottom. 
I merely wish to explain the nature of the charges which I have brought 
against the bank, occasionally throwing out such reflections as are ob- 
viously connected with the facts, and well calculated to stamp those facts 
upon the mind with a steadfast and abiding impression. A few of those 
general ideas at this part of our discussion will not be unprofitable, espe- 
cially as I design what I am now about to say more for the public ear than 
for the benefit of this House. I will candidly confess that 1 am extremely 
anxious to use my present station to speak to the people on the subject of 
this destroying bank, and to urge them, by every consideration which can 
forcibly appeal to the love of country, to a regard for their government, to 
a respect for liberty and equal rights, to their hatred of monopolies, to 
their disgust for extortion, to their horror of oppression, and their detes- 
tation of privileged orders in this happy country, to pause before they 
permit the continuance of an institution involving within its influence and 
control all the foregoing relations. 

The Bank of the United States, so called to give it the advantage of 
a great name, is located at Philadelphia, and has twenty-seven branches 
scattered throughout the Union. The whole of this immense money- 
making machine belongs to a few privileged individuals, who have an 
express assurance that no similar establishment shall be erected by the 
General Government in the United States. These are some of the lead- 
ing general principles of the institution : — 

1. The mother-bank will not receive the bills of her branches without 
a premium. 

2. The branches will not receive those of the mother-bank without the 
same. 



% 



156 BENCH AND BAR OF 6E0R0IA. 

3. The branches will not receive the bills of one another without the 
same. 

Now, what is the consequence of this ? These favored few have a 
monopoly of all the moneyed transactions of the Union. Their capital 
is thirty-five millions of dollars, and this they lend out at a certain 
interest, and then send out agents to shave their own paper. They first 
make a profit by lending their notes, and then a profit by paying them off 
at a discount. Can any practice be more dishonest ? If an individual, 
by reason of his wealth, were to do this, — were to impose upon the neces- 
sities of his poor neighbor to whom he had given his note, by shaving it 
afterward, — he would be justly esteemed a dishonest man. The fact is, 
there are principles allowed to this bank which the consent of all honest 
men have branded with infamy whenever practised by individuals. And 
it is permitted to do that with impunity which a sound morality has 
universally condemned in the ordinary transactions of men. 

But the most intolerable privilege is yet to be told. Not satisfied with 
being allowed to lend and shave their own notes, the Government actually 
puts into their possession the whole of its revenues, amounting to twenty- 
five millions of dollars, to speculate upon as they may think proper. 
There is scarcely any man who docs not know that under our system of 
taxation the most of it is paid by the consumers of the country; and they 
are generally the farmers. Commerce forms the subject of revenue, which 
the merchant in the first place pays, but which he afterward compels the 
consumer to reimburse with an increase of profit. AH this flows silently 
and imperceptibly into the custom-house ; and the Grovernment, not satis- 
fied with having exacted it from the hard-earned labor of the consumer by 
reason of a most ruinous duty upon the articles of his consumption, bat 
they must sufier it to pass into the hands of a few highly-favored stock- 
holders to undergo an additional processs of extortion. If the collector of 
the revenues, the officer of the Government, were to lend out the taxes, 
speculate upon them after they were collected, for his own private benefit, 
everybody would cry out shame upon such an officer, and he would be 
hurled from his post with just indignation. And yet the Government 
directs him to pay the taxes into the Bank of the United States ; and, the 
moment it gets there, it is set afloat in all directions upon lending and 
speculating contracts, and these bank gentry realize not less than six and 
often as high as twelve per cent, upon the burdens of the country thus 
drawn into their coffers. 

Let us illustrate, by a familiar but striking example, this process of ex* 
tortion. The collector of Charleston receives from the merchants, and 
they from the consumers, of South Carolina, one million of dollars in reve- 
nue he dare not use himself in any mode of speculation, but is obliged to 
deposit it in the Branch Bank of the United States at that place. That 
bank then writes a short letter in true mercantile style to a sister-branch, 
say in New York, something like this : — *• Have to advise you of one mil- 
lion to credit of government, [the hard earnings of the poor Carolinians,] 
value at sight, and expect due honor.'' This is enough : a draft is drawn 
in favor of some cotton-buyer who wants funds in Charleston, at from one 
to two per cent., and the branch at New York makes rit/ht off from ten 
to twenty thousand dollars from the American Sj/stem screwed hard 
down upon the honest Carolinians. At the same time, the same 
branch in New York informs her sister bank at Charleston that she too 
has ten millions taken in like manner, which can be drawn for in favor 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 167 

of merchants of Charleston who want to purchase goods in New York. 
Accordingly, it is done, and the Charleston hranch ** pockets" from one 
to two hundred thousand dollars more by what would be called, on the 
turf, " cross-jockeying." And this operation is continually going on be- 
tween the mother-bank and her branches, all over the United States, 
upon twenty-five millions of Government money. It is so mean and ridi- 
culous a species of legalized swindling, that while it resembles, it is even 
worse than the knavery the two Dutch lawyers practised upon their un- 
suspecting clients when one of them wrote to the other, in true Dutch 
style, — 

" I haf TOD fat goose, I saund yoa anoder : 
You pluck de one and I'll pluck de oder." 

Most people know nothing of the oppression and grinding exactions 
that are secretly but constantly operating upon the community by means 
of the monopoly granted to the Bank of the United States. Should not 
Congress, then, hesitate and examine, and examine and hesitate, long, very 
long, before they perpetuate such a blight upon the rising prosperity of 
this vast and growing country ? 

Denouncing the bank and the Tariff conjointly, and scanning 
ifith rigor the operation of both, Judge Clayton thus proceeded : — 

When the old Bank of the United States wound up its business and 
made a final division, each stockholder had returned to him not only the 
amount of his shares, with eight per cent, interest per annum for the 
whole period of its incorporation, but he had paid to him one hundretl 
iloiiars to the share besides ; that is, his money was doubled, exclusive 
of the interest. There is no manner of doubt that such would be the 
result at the expiration of the present charter. This double amount would 
soon be vested in other stock, and their means of support consequently 
increased one hundred per cent. And, Mr. Speaker, this would be no 
common support, either ', for I find, upon examining the list of stock- 
holders, there are upward of forty widows who own ten thousand dollars 
each, and several as high 9a fifty thousand. Concerning these last I hope 
the gentleman [Mr. McDuffie] will give himself no uneasiness ; for they 
can assure him, in any event of the Bank question, they will remain pretty 
good game for the pursuit of any widower whatever. But, sir, while 
he is manifesting such sensibility for those destitute persons, let me shade 
his portrait a little by a sombre color which I can employ from another 
class of stockholders in this same bank. The real stockholders are not 
American widows and orphans, but British lords and ladies, British 
naval and military officers, British clergymen and country squires; 
and, sir, for your exquisite delight, permit me to read a few of their 
names: — 

Baring, Brothers & Co., London $791,500 

The Most Honorable the Marquis of Hertford 100,300 

The Right Honorable Saiih, Countess-Dowager of Castle 

Stuart 10,000 

Sir Colin Campbell and Sir Richard Hunter 37,100 

Bight Honorable Lord Henry Viscount Gage 12,000 

Honorable Hudson Gumey, Member of Parliament 50,000 

Sir Robert Harvey 19,500 




158 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Sir William Kcppcl, General in his British Majesty's forces, 

Knijrht of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath $72,200 

Major-Gencral Maister 9,000 

Sir George Nugent, Baronet 20,000 

J. Packwood, of the Royal Navy 8,000 

Sir Marmaduke Warren Peacock, Li euten ant-General, &c 60,000 

The Earl of Beauchamp 15,000 

Sir Gilbert Sterling 10,000 

Lady Sarah Stuart 31,300 

Sir Grcnville Temple 20,000 

Augusta, Countess-Dowager Von Pollant 4,200 

The Earl of Levin 50,000 

Major-General 3IacDonald 64,900 

Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Bradford 4,000 

Sir William Keith Ball, Baronet 30,000 

Lord Eric Beery 60,000 

Mrs. Ann Redfern 70,160 

Abel Smith, Esq 100,000 

Sir PMward Tucker 50,200 

Jonathan Austin, Esq 120,000 

Major William Davis 20,000 

Reverend Arthur Dean 7,000 

Reverend Philip Fletcher 20,000 

Reverend George Gordon 30,100 

Mr. Benjamin Heywood 178,400 

John Marshall, (London) 123,600 

James Drake 100,000 

John Marshall 264,200 

Lieutenant-Colonel John Maxwell 64,900 

Sir Robert Wilson 15,000 

Lady Rosabella Wilson 15,000 

And last, though not least, Mrs. Candelaria Bell, $63,700, whose faDci- 
ful and beautiful name I hope will be remembered by some gentleman of 
the turf when he comes to christen his next female racer. In all, 
upward of four hundred in number, and holding stock to the amount of 
eight and a half millions, besides what is in the hands of trustees. 

After alleging great corruptions against the bank, and charging 
it with interference in elections, Judge Clayton closed his speech 
as follows : — 

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, 1 offer one more reflection. It is aptly 
said, by some writer, that the financial system of thb country represents 
an inverted pyramid. Six thousand millions of property, and all the 
enterprises and interchanges of the country, resting upon sixty millions 
paper dollars, which are themselves depending upon about fifteen millions 
of specie. And all this under the exclusive control of one grand, regu- 
lating, central machine, whose whole operations, and all its immense 
profits, belong to a highly-favored few. I have done for the present; but 
the half has not been told which belongs to this important subject. 

The resolution offered by Judge Clayton prevailed, to raise a 
select committee to examine the affairs of the bank ; and he wis 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 169 

appointed chairman. In this capacity he performed a great deal 
of labor, and, after an inspection of the books and papers of the 
bank, he reported a mass of facts to Congress, with the evidence 
he had taken in the support of his charges against that institution. 
In the mean time, Congress had passed the bill to recharter the 
bank, which incurred the Presidential veto on the 10th of July, 
1832. / 

In September, 1833, President Jackson issued his famous Cabi- 
net order for the removal of the public deposits to the State banks 
which had been selected for that purpose. This measure met the 
warm approbation of Judge Clayton, who had been re-elected to 
the House of Representatives after his special term had expired. 
As it is generally known that, in his anonymous communications to 
the press, he was in the habit of using the signature of "Atticus," 
and as no other writer would likely usmp a name so exclusively 
the right of "one who had given it celebrity by his genius, it is fair 
to presume that the following, which appeared in the Georgia 
Journal of May 14, 1834, was from the pen of Judge Clayton ; — 

" 'Tis strange, I vow, "what difference be 
'Twixt tweedle-dam and tweedle-dec.'' 

It is an old but true saying, that '' give a dog a bad name and you 
might as well hang him." Iq December, 1882, President Jackson issued 
a proclamation, containing certain political principles highly obnoxious to 
the Kepublican party of the South. Since that time, he has been unable 
to do any thing which can meet the approbation of certain politicians who 
have dubbed themselves with the proud distinction and honorable appellation 
of State-Rights men. He has been denounced as a tyrant, cursed as a 
traitor, stigmatized as a usurper, and, in turn, borne every epithet which 
the vocabulary of Billingsgate could furnish. Recently the torrent of in- 
vective has been let loose with tenfold impetuosity. For the performance 
of an act which he conceived was imperative upon him by his oath of 
office, he has been held up to public odium, by men infinitely his infe- 
riors in moral or political honesty, as the reckless invader of the people's 
rights, the vile murderer of their interests, and the petty, factious tyrant 
who would overwhelm his country in ruin to gratify private hatred or 
promote unhallowed ambition. And who arc the chief men that have 
thus poured forth such a torrent of abuse? Henry Clay, John C. Cal- 
houn, George McDuffie. And what is the act for which he has thus been 
abused ? The removal of the public money from the vaults of the Bank 
of the United States to those of the State banks, — such an act as has 
oflentimes before been done without a word of complaint from any quar- 
ter; such an act as was absolutely necessary for the well-being of the 
Government and the people; such an act as every patriot approves; such 
an act as would have been commended by all and objected to by only the 
bank and a few of its bought-up presses, if the ambition of Clay and 
Calhoun had not made it a stepping-stone for their ascension to the Presi- 
dency. Upon their heads, and their heads aloncy falls all the injury the 
country has sustained, or will sustain, from the act. 



160 BENCU AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

We have heard it proclaimed from the Senate and from the House of 
Representatives in Congress, and reiterated by the press throughout the 
countr}', that the President had seized upon the public money, appro- 
priated it without law and against law, and that it was now under his 
control, to be disposed of as his ambition or avarice might dictate. Never 
was there a charge more utterly false. Not one cent has been appro- 
priated against the laws of Congress, nor has the President any further 
or greater control over it now than he has always had : his only act has 
been to say to the collectors of the public revenue, When you shall receive 
any money of the Government, deposit it in some certain State bank for 
safe-keeping until the Government shall call for it, instead of placing it 
in some branch of the United States Bank. A brief statement of the 
facts is alone wanting to put down effectually the malicious charges which 
have been heaped upon the character of the President for this act. By 
law, the public money is required to be deposited in the United States 
Bank, or its branches, until the Secretary of the Treasury shall otherwise 
direct ; and, when he shall so direct^ it is made his duty to communicate 
his reasons for the act to Congress. 

At the last session of that body, so apparent was the necessity of removing 
these deposits from the United States Bank and placing them in the 
State banks, that a very large minority of the House of Representatives 
voted instructions to the Secretary to do so, — though they had no right to 
say a word to him on the subject; and all the delegation from Georgia, 
(we speak from memory,) save Mr. Wilde, voted for those instructions. 

The reasons which induced them to give this vote were : — 

1. The bank had interfered in the Presidential election by in- 
creasing its loans from January, 1831, to May, 1832, from ^2,000,000 
to $70,000,000, and that immediately before the election, — thus making a 
large number of people dependent upon and indebted to it, threatening 
them with ruin if the bank was not rechartercd, petitioning Congress at 
that time for a renewal of the charter, compelling the President to veto 
the bill and thereby make as enemies those who were indebted to the 
bank. For such an interference in elections, Mr. McDuffie advised, in 
his celebrated bank report in 1830, that the " public deposits should be 
removed." He now a<:t8 differently. 

2. The termination of the bank charter at a short day rendered it 
necessary that the Government should begin another system of finance, 
for the purpose of carrying on its transactions so as not to embarrass the 
people to any extent. This was the plan adopted in 1811, when the old 
bank charter expired ; and so happily did it succeed, that not the slightest 
embarrassment was felt. The President was not then denounced as a 
usurper. 

3. The bank had become so much embarrassed, on account of its 
heavy expenditure of money in the Presidential election, that it could 
not pay to the Government the money which had been deposited in its 
vaults for safe-kceeping. The Government was owing — and the money would 
be due at a certain time— 85,000,000. In order to meet the debt, the 
money was collected and deposited in the bank. The bank converted it 
to its own use : when the time arrived, it was unable to pay it, but peti- 
tioned for the use for six months, it paying the interest thereon. The in- 
dulgence was granted : when the time arrived, the money still could not 
be paid. The Government would wait no longer; but the bank, to get 
further indulgence, induced the creditors of the Government not to pre- 



^ 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 161 

Bent tbeir demands, and paid the interest upon them for the indulgence. 
If one individual had treated another in this way, would the one thus 
treated have put his money in the hands of the other a second time ? 

4. It bought up printing-presses, and loaned large sums of money to 
editors who were insolvent, without any kind of security, for the purpose 
of getting their support. 

5. The bank authorized its President to expend whatever amount of 
money he thought proper in having printed and circulated such news- 
papers and pamphlets as would help to obtain a renewal of its charter; 
and, in 1831 and 1832, he expended for that purpose the enormous sum 
of 880,000. 

6. The charter forbid the bank from doing business with less than 
seven directors : in violation of the law, it did business continually with 
only five directors. 

7. The Government is a large stockholder ; and, for the purpose of 
knowing what is going on, and protecting its interests, it was entitled to 
five directors. In order, however, to defeat the intention of the law, and 
to conceal its illegal acts, the bank excluded them from any knowledge 
whatever of its transactions. 

After the adjournment of Congress, another act, more perfidious than 
any which had taken place before, was committed by the bank. Accord- 
ing to its charter, in consideration of the monopoly which it enjoyed, the 
bank was bound to transfer the funds of the Government wherever they 
might be required to be placed. The Government of France, according 
to a treaty with our own, was called upon to pay $900,000. The Secre- 
tary of the Treasury drew a bill of exchange upon the French Government 
for that amount : the bank discounted it ; but every cent of the money 
was left with the bank and used by it. The bank sold the bill, for a 
profit, in London ; the purchaser presented the bill for payment to the 
Government of France, which was refused, from the want of funds to 
meet it ; the agent of the bank in Paris paid the money and took up the 
bill, and the President of the bank at Philadelphia then demanded from 
the Government of the United States $158,000 as damages which it had 
sustained by the failure of France to meet the engagement punctually. 
The bank bought the bill without advancing one cent for it, made its 
profits on it, and then took up the bill with the same money it had sold 
it for. This stupendous fraud upon the people determined the President, 
among other reasons, to remove the deposits. But it may be said that 
the Secretary alone could remove them. This the Secretary has done, 
and communicated his reasons to Congress. But it may be regarded as 
the act of the President : he wishes it to be so regarded. He is sworn to 
see the laws faithfullv executed : the Secretary refused to execute them 
faithfully; the President removed him from office, and placed another 
there who would do so. 

It is contended that the President had not the power to remove Mr. 
Duane from office. He certainly had the power to appoint him ; and it 
follows, as a matter of course, if he could appoint, and was responsible for 
his acts while in office, he could remove him. Such has been the prac- 
tice since the establishment of the Government: every administration 
has removed such from office as even differed in opinion with them, and 
it has never before been complained of. Mr. Duane deserves less pity 
for his eviction from office than any other roan. He accepted the appoint- 
ment of Secretary tinder a full knowledge of the intention of the adminis- 

VOL. I.— 11 



162 BENCH AND BAR OF QEOROIA. 

tratioQ in reference to the deposits, and stated to the President, should 
his own opinion not agree with the administration, he would either resign 
or remove them as an executive order or act. But when called upon, 
notwithstanding the bank had most insultingly outraged the laws, and he 
pledged to the President to do so, he both refused to remove the deposits 
or to resign. The President owed it to the country to have no such dis- 
honorable man in his Cabinet. Ho was therefore removed. The only 
thing which remained to be complained of is that the act was unprece- 
dented. Is this so ? No less than five Secretaries have done similar acts. 
During the administration of Gen. Washington, Mr. Hamilton, Secretary 
of the Treasury, made his deposits not only m State banks, but even made 
the breeches-pocket of Mr. Habersham, of Georgia, the depository of the 
public money collected in this State. 

In February, 1811, Mr. Gallatin, Secretary, removed the deposits from 
the old United States Bank to the State banks ; and the only reason he 
assigned was, that, the charter being about to expire, such a course wis 
necessary for the well-being of the Government. Congress sustained his 
reasons. 

In December, 181«5, Mr. Dallas, Secretary, makes his deposits in the 
State banks. 

In December, 1819, Mr. Crawford withdrew the deposits, in part, from 
the United States Bank and placed them in the State banks. 

In May, 1817, he refused to deposit in the United States Bank, because 
it would not receive the bills of certain local banks in Virginia. In the 
same year he made large deposits in the Bank of Vincennes, and in other 
Western banks. In 1819, he selected three State banks situated in places 
where there were branches of the United States Bank, and deposited in 
them. From March, 1817, to October, 1821, he transferred funds frum 
the United States Bank and deposited them in forty-eight State and local 
banks. 

In August, 1825, Mr. Rush, Secretary, under Mr. Adams, made his 
deposits in the Bank of Mobile, directly under the eye of the United 
States Bank. 

In August, 1827, he drew money from the United States Branch Bank 
at Washington City, and deposited it in the Bank of Tennessee. 

In November, 1828, he selected and deposited in sixteen different 
banks. 

In February, 1830, Mr. Ingham, Secretary, made deposits in the Bank 
of New Haven. 

In June, 1830, he drew $10,000 from the bank at New Orleans, and 
deposited it in the Bank of Mississippi, at Natchez. 

in October, 1832, Mr. McLaue, Secretary, deposited both in the Bank 
of Alexandria and the Mechanics' Bank of Alexandria. 

Now, if the Secretaries had the power to remove one dollar of the de- 
posits, they had the right to remove all. The removals to which we have 
referred were never objected to, but always regarded as perfectly legal. 
Mr. Crawford, it is true, was assailed and basely slandered for the acts to 
which we have referred. Ninian Edwards was the instrument in the 
hands of Mr. Calhoun to attack him. The reason for that attack was 
obvious when Mr. Calhoun wished to put him out of his wfty to the 
Presidency. Congress and the people passed upon the act, and both 
acquitted him. It is a singular coincidence, that the only two persons 
who have ever been assailed for removing the deposits were Messrs. Craw- 



^ 



AUQU8TIN S. CLAYTON. 168 

ford and Jackson, their chief accuser Mr. Calhoun, and both these 
gentlemen formidable riyals and powerful opponents to his ascension to 
the Presidency. Just look on the history of this question, and tell me if 

** 'Tis not strange what difference be 
'Twixt tweedle-dom and tweedle-dee "? 

Atticus. 

It has been considered necessary to place these extracts before 
the public, to show the position maintained by Judge Clayton, 
on the two exciting measures in which he acted a prominent part 
in Congress, — the Tariff and Bank. In order that his opinions 
may also be understood relative to the Public Lands, another topic 
of profound national interest, the following document is sub- 
joined : — 

HouBB or RsPBBBiNTATiVBS, April 17, 1884. 

Mr. Clayton, from the Committee on the Public Lands, made the 
following report : — 

The Committee on the Public Lands, to which was referred the peti- 
tion of the Trustees of Transylvania College, of Kentucky, and that of the 
Trustees of Pendleton Academy, of the State of Alabama, praying for a 
donation of lands for the encouragement of their respective institutions, 
report: — 

That the disposition of the public lands for such an object, however 
laudable, cannot be justified either by the Constitution or the manner in 
which they are held by the Government. The only method by which 
Congress can ^' promote the progress of science and useful arts" is ** by 
securing, for a limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right 
to their respective writings and discoveries." It cannot be denied that 
the donation of the public lands to seminaries of learning would be to 
promote the progress of science, and consequently in a way very different 
from that prescribed in the above clause of the Constitution. By the 
express specification of the manner and cases in which science and the 
useful arts shall be encouraged, it is entirely obvious that every other 
mode is excluded. And this would be very apparent, if, instead of an 
application for a donation of lands from a college, it should come from an 
inventor of some useful instrument calculated to advance the useful arts. 
It will be seen, by the clause of the Constitution referred to, that science 
and the useful arts are placed upon the same footing ; and, if it is allowed 
to depart from the prescribed method of promoting the progress of the 
former, the latter may with equal right claim a similar indulgence, and 
the committee believe no one is prepared to admit that the public lands 
could be given away to inventors, however useful their discoveries might 
be. It may be said that the Constitution had reference to the authors 
of writings. This idea is refuted not only by the generality of the ex- 
pression " the progress of science," which comprehends the subject in its 
most unlimited sense, but by the well-known history of this particular 
clause of the Constitution as found in the journal of the convention. 
The proposition to clothe Congress with the power to charter a university 
was thrice presented and rejected by the convention ; and, after referring 



164 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOBGIA. 

that subject, as well as the one relating to the encourascmeDt of the 
useful arts, to a committee, all that could be obtained was the power as it 
now stands in the Constitution, and which the committee have before 
<motcd; and this, in their opinion, is too plain to admit of a doubt that 
the Federal Government has any jurisdiction over the subject of science. 
Besides this view of the subject, the committee are of opinion the Govern- 
ment is further rastrained from a disposition of the public lands in the 
manner required by the petitioners, from its solemn engagements made with 
the States from which it obtained its cessions of the public lands. In the 
conveyance made by the State of Virginia of her territory northwestward 
of the river Ohio, (and substantially in the cessions of lands made by 
North Carolina and Georgia,) there is to be found the following stipula- 
tion : — " That all the lands within the territory so ceded to the United 
States, and not reserved for or appropriated to any of the before-men- 
tioned purposes, or disposed of in bounties to the officers and soldiers of 
the American army, shall be considered a common fund for the use and 
benefit of such of the United States as have become, or shall become, 
members of the confederation or federal alliance of the said States, Virginia 
inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions in the general 
charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed of 
for that purpose, and for no other i«c or purpose whatever," In this 
stipulation the object and intention are so plainly expressed that it is 
scarcely necessary to call the attention of Congress to them. If the public 
lands form '^ a common fund** for the use and benefit of the States accord- 
ing to their usual respective proportions in the general charge and expen- 
diture, and shall be disposed of for that and no other purpose, how can 
Congress make partial donations of a common fund for the benefit of 
seminaries of learning, intended, and so expressly stated, to be disposed 
of for the sole and exclusive purpose of benefiting the several States in 
the general charge and expenditure of the Government, and that, too, in 
unequal amounts to some States, and not to others ? It appears to the 
committee that such a proposition cannot seriously be contended for. If 
the public lands were all sold and reduced to a common fund, in mone^j 
lying in the Treasury for the objects expressed in the above-quoted agree- 
ment, every one would see at once that Congress would not draw the money 
from that place for the purposes sought by the petitioners; and, if they 
would not in monci/, it is not perceived how it can be done while this 
common fund remains in l^nda. If a single acre can be used for that 
purpose, the whole can, and thus the fund would be diverted altogether 
from its palpably-expressed object. And this is not all : if any part of it 
can be given to one or two seminaries of learning, the whole can to the 
same, to the exclusion of all the other States. It is no good answer to 
this objection to say that Congress must take care to distribute the public 
lands equally among all the literary institutions throughout the United 
States : this would be most notoriously a departure from the contract of 
the ceding State ; and, when once Congress shall substitute its discretion 
for the express terms of the agreement, it must be plain to every mind 
that there can be no limits to that discretion, save a sense of its own 
notions of propriety, most evidently forming no part of the inducementB 
to the cessions of land made by the States to the Federal Government. It 
must be obvious, too, that, if they had the right to change the terms of 
the contract, it is wholly impracticable to make an equal and impartial 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 165 

distribution of the lands among all the various institutions, high and low, 
intended to diffuse the benefits of education. 

The committee are aware that something is claimed for these applica- 
tions from the force of precedent, but they cannot for a moment believe, 
if they have presented a correct view of the subject, that it will be seriously 
contended that the plain and positive stipulations of a contract, and the 
still higher and more solemn obligations of the Constitution, shall be made 
to yield to a practice certainly founded in error, and perhaps without due 
consideration. Nor can any sanction be drawn from the example of a 
certain disposition of lands within the new States, where the public domain 
is situated, for the benefit of schools, inasmuch as such disposition was 
evidently predicated upon the provision in the Constitution which vested 
Congress with the ''power to dispose of and make all needful rules and 
regulations respecting the territory belonging to the United States." 
Nothing could so much contribute to the population of the new States as 
the institution of schools. The means of education certainly furnished 
the strongest motive to the purchase of the public lands, and a donation 
for that object in different parts of the territory came properly within 
those needful ''rules and regulations,'' well calculated to enhance the 
value of the residue, and was alike due to the condition of the new 
States that were entirely without the means of offering such an indispen- 
sable inducement to their early settlement. This is a regular system in 
reference to the new States organized from the Territories; and, though 
one of the applications is from a new State, it does not fall within that 
system, — a departure from which would entitle not only the other new 
States, but the old ones also, to similar donations. Under these opinions, 
the committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the 
said petitions, and all of a like nature since referred to them. 

The author has no record to show on what dififcrcnt committees 
Judge Clayton served during the four sessions he was in Congress, 
nor what reports he made. It is not material, however, to parade 
these facts : his reputation is suflScicntly established without them. 
He was ever diligent, ever animated, ever watchful of the public 
good; and he let no occasion pass unimproved to benefit his 
country to the best of his power. 

Dismissing his judicial and legislative career, in both of which 
he displayed eminent ability, the author proceeds to the literary 
character of Judge Clayton, which is not less enviable. The 
author regrets that he is so inadequately supplied in this field ; 
for, although it is known that Judge Clayton wrote a great deal 
for the public eye, in all of which he infused his pure diction and 
flowing spirit, yet, for the twenty-four years after he graduated 
at Franklin College, in 1804, until his address before the societies 
of the same institution in 1828, no production except the "Myste- 
rious Picture*' has come to the notice of the author which might 
be regarded as a proper test of his literary merits. His speeches 
at the bar, in the Legislature, and on other public occasions, — his 



I 



166 BENCH AND BAR OF GBOEQIA. 

charges to the grand jury, — his commonications to the press, — 
though all evincing ripe acquirements, did not, however, take on a 
form of literary preparation which might decide his claims to the 
favor of competent judges of style. It was reserved for the col- 
lege commencement in August, 1828, at Athens, — when he and 
the Hon. John M. Berrien met in friendly, yet in high-toned, ear- 
nest competition, — ^for his happiest effort to be made. Both se- 
lected a similar theme. One exemplified '^Eloquence," as did the 
chaste and melodious Berrien, and the other asserted the power of 
^'Oratory," which he illustrated in his own person. Such a lite- 
rary feast had never been spread before an audience in Georgia; 
and it may well be feared that its like will never be repeated. 
The brief extract from Judge Clayton's address here given will 
afford some idea of the whole, which was equally brilliant and 
elaborate : — 

Oratory is the great moral agent that guides and controls all human 
passions. Eloquence is the universal instrument by which all the wants 
of animated nature are supplied. It is to the moral what electricity is to 
the natural world. It is the great pervading, connecting, and upholding 
principle of all sensual inclination and of all intellectual influence. 

It is the subtle, active, quickening impulse, restless as air and rapid as 
lightning, that runs through all sense, gives edge to its desires and effort 
to its designs. It assumes all shapes, tries all forms, and shines in all 
varieties. It sues in the cry of infancy, woos in the sigh of love, wails 
in the groan of pain, implores in the suffering of despair, supplicates in 
the wretchedness of sorrow, beseeches in the misery of want, persuades 
in truth, demands in justice, melts in pity, thunders in vengeance, and 
rages in distraction. 

At one moment it fans like the zephyr, at another blasts like the 
simuom; now plays and refreshes like the breeze, then storms and de- 
stroys like the blast. The mind is never steady under its operation : 
reason dreads it, judgment shrinks from under its crushing energy, and 
neither in their dominion has the security of an hour under its ravaging 
march. 

He who witnesses the calm serenity of a summer's morn, or the mellow 
stillness of an autumnal eve, forgets that they can be disturbed by any 
cause. Let but the angry lightnings of heaven gather in the west, growl 
for a time as they thicken in the cloud, rise in swelling murmurs as thev 
come over the fearful silence of nature, then quicken in flashes, streak 
through the vaulted skies, peal from pole to pole, from heaven to earth, 
and rend the lofty forest, in vain may he look for those tranquil seasons 
that so regaled his senses before this ** war of elements." 

So with oratory. Reason and judgment sit secure amid its playful 
gambols ; but let it once swell into a tempest, drive upon the feelings, 
strike at the sympathies, beat upon the affections, storm on the passions, 
dash on the sensibilities of the heart, and reason and judgment are gone, 
— fled from the sober helm of conscience : the mind surrenders at dis- 
cretion ; decisions are made and sent forth which no future composure cm 
repair, and often become fate to an individual and destiny to a nation. 



AUQUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 167 

In 1825 there appeared in the hook-stores a pamphlet of two 
hundred pages, bound in the style of the Quarterly Review^ en- 
titled *' The Mysterious Picture, by Wrangham Fitz-ramble, Esq.," 
with the following lines on the title-page : — 

Hence Satire* s power : 'tis her corrective part 
To calm the wild disorders of the heart. 
She points the arduous height where glory lies, 
And teaches mad Ambition to be wise. 
In the dark bosom wakes the fair desire, 
Draws good from ill, a brighter flame from fire. 
Strips black Oppression of her gay disguise, 
' And bids the hag in native horror rise ; 

Strikes towering Pride and lawless Kapine dead. 
And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head. 

As noted by the author of the pamphlet, its contents were — 
The Mysterious Picture ; Human Depravity ; Vanity ; The Illusions 
of Pleasure; Pride and Love; The Disappointed Author; The 
Politician; The Widow and Widower; Education; The Negro's 
Dream. 

The conception was singular, tinged with the supernatural. 
While restless on his pillow, Mr. Fitz-ramble was addressed as in 
a vision : — 

''You have nothing to fear," said the genius, for so he called him- 
self. '' I have beheld your difficulties, and am ordered to furnish the 
relief Arise ; follow me, and, strange as it may appear, I will discover 
to you an unknown world of thought^ where mortal research has never 
penetrated and which human ingenuity can never fathom." 

I instantly arose, and seemed to possess a surprising activity of body 
and a subtle elasticity of mind, — in the first to move without exertion, and 
in the last to think without an effort. 

The genius then conducted him into a church where the con- 
gregation were arrested by a spell, yet each individual retaining 
the images passing in his or her mind at the moment. Thrilling 
reflections are thus indulged : — 

When I surveyed this immense crowd in a state of apparent torpor, 
possessing the same complexion, cast of countenance, and expression of 
eje as it* alive, in the deathlike stillness and inflexibility of statues, the 
inward employment of whose minds was shortly to be in my power, I felt 
an impressive distrust of my own firmness and a repulsive dread of the 
scene. I seemed to think that I was meddling with what did not belong 
to me ; that I was lurking around the privacy and prying into the secrets 
of heart which ought to be held sacred by reason of their undivulged 
nature and in virtue of their deep concealment in the very folds of life; 
that I was taking an ungenerous advantage of a sudden and unavoidable 
misfortune, which foreclosed the mind from all preparation for such a 
distressing examination. Indeed, I would have given any thing to have 



168 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOBGIA. 

silently withdrawn, and to have refused an insight into this serious and 
delicate development; and for this purpose I fondly asked myself, ''Is 
it not all a dream ? Exert yourself, and try to shake off the delusion, 
and hy that means escape from this unsought dilemma and fly from what 
you so much dislike." But at this moment the genius approached me 
sternly saying, '^ You are not asleep ; it is no phantom. You are com- 
pelled not only to witness, but to reveal, the whole ; and why should you 
be afraid or ashamed to do so? There is One infinitely greater than you 
— the Source of all virtue and the Fountain of all purity, before whom 
you are a loathsome worm — obliged daily to behold these vain imagina- 
tions : there is not a secret spring or the lightest conceivable motion of 
the mind that is not instantly open to his view. And if these people 
are not ashamed to indulge before Him what you will soon discover, why 
should they be before you, even if they were sensible of it ? Do you 
imagine they care more for you than Ilim ? Besides, suppose that sud- 
den death had seized them : would it not have taken them in those very 
thoughts ? and will they not, as well as all others, in a coming day be 
exposed to the gaze of an assembled world ? They wrong themselves ; 
you do them no injury. Come, then, and I will show you how to get at 
the contents of each storv, drama, novel, romance, or whatever else you 
may choose to call it, in this singular sleeping library.'' 

The idea then proceeds : heads are unlocked by a touch, flying 
open to inspection, and all secret thoughts are revealed. Here is 
a cotton-planter fixing up his crop for market, — the best of his 
staple where it can be seen. By his side is a Yankee cotton- 
buyer, with gimlet and samples in bis pocket, contriving how to 
mix up the qualities so as to obtain an advantage in the classifi- 
cation and sale. The details are quite minute in both characters, — 
both resorting to unworthy devices for profit. 

"Merciful Heaven !" thought I; " are these the pranks that are played 
in the disposition of that great and valuable staple of the Southern States, 
that constitutes their wealth and strength ? Is it possible,'' continued I, 
turning around toward the females and casting my eye upon one who was 
richly attired, " that the beautiful drapery that covers that more beautiful 
form has been made to pass through such a demoralizing process ? Can 
it be that the gay apparel, which flows with so much grace and shines 
with such splendor on the glittering nymphs who so often adorn the 
mirthful hall, is stained with fraud, has been familiar with falsehood, and 
almost associated with felony?" I trembled at the idea, lest it might be 
imbued with a contagion that would impart treachery to the bosom it so 
modestly concealed, or faithlessness to the heart by which it was so 
unconsciously caressed. 

On the subject of petty frauds, artful projects, cunning stratagems, 
cheating schemes, overreaching devices, and swindling contrivances, I 
shall never be able to disclose the half I saw on that occasion. In the 
mechanic arts there was a great inclination of the mind to imposition, to 
slight work, and to charge high, particularly in all the handicraft-work ; 
and, if the nature of the labor was out of the common obser\'ation and 
ordinary experience of the customers, they were certainly exposed to a 
fraud. For instance, I noticed one watchmaker had determined that 



\ 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 169 

every watch in bis shop should have either a mainspring or a pivot-wheel 
broken ; and the repair of these would, of course, just command the highest 
price. 

In commercial business the tricks were innumerable. Vintners were 
adulterating wines ; druggists were corrupting medicines, particularly the 
article of Peruvian bark; and merchants were altering invoices and fur- 
nishing themselves with the materials, to give it no worse name, for 
making round assertions about the '^ cost** of their goods. One old fellow 
bad just concluded that his last supply of rum would bear ^^ fully a 
fourth/' and, as to his molasses, it must take a ^Hhird," or he should 
absolutely lose '^ on the article,'' it was so villanously wasting. 

Then a variety of characters are peeped into : the horse-jockey 
patching up eyes, smoothing over defects, and concealing bad 
qualities ; debtors were framing excuses for a want of punctuality ; 
tailors were cabbaging remnants ; millers heaping up toll ; bank- 
directors contriving to serve themselves and friends liberally; 
clerks resorting to various stratagems — some had been knocked 
down and robbed — to account for the money intrusted to them ; 
other officers of the bank were using false keys, some making false 
entries on the books, and other individuals were digging under 
ground to rob the vaults ; some were counterfeiting bills, and others 
making a chemical preparation to change their amount. Mi*. 
Fitz-ramble then lets off his animosity to banks in the following 
words : — 

All kinds of plans and inventions were in train either to make, alter, 
forge, counterfeit, or steal bank-money; to break open merchants' shops, 
to rob desks and counter-drawers, pick pockets, and especially to filch 
pocket-books ; so that I could not but believe — and such is my honest 
conviction — if the whole institution could be swallowed up as by an 
earthquake, leaving not a vestige behind, that with it would disappear 
one-half the crime and its demoralizing effects which at present so deeply 
corrupt the frame of society; and, as to the increase of private happiness 
and the diminution of individual suffering and anxiety, the consequences 
would be incalculable. 

The genius next escorted his companion to a great elevation, and 
then showed him the entire world below, with all its transactions. 
The view is powerfully summed up : — 

Such deeds the most lawless fancy cannot portray, heart cannot con- 
ceive, and to which, of course, utterance is denied. Imagination in the 
fullest sweep of voluptuous contemplation, whetted by the most luxuriant 
passion, and urged by the sharpest penetration, can never reach the thou- 
sandth part of the deep-dyed and ingrained hue of this hidden licentious- 
ness. '^And yet," thought I, 'Hhis is forever passing before the all- 
seeing eye of a pure and spotless Deity." 

Under the head of "Vanity," the writer sketches to the life a 
flippant young man bent upon pleasing the ladies, dashing through 



170 BENCH AND BAR OF OEORQIA. 

the Streets with a fine switch-tailed horse and an elegant new 
silver-tipped gig, (no buggies then,) and managing to pass " all the 
houses that were inhabited by fair damsels." At length a tender 
heart is broken by this "inflated Adonis," and he is much exalted 
thereby in his own estimation. A group in the church is thus 
described : — 

I came across several young geotlemen dressed in the highest ton, their 
bodies druwu to the shape of an inverted cone, well swaddled in a fresh 
and increased supply of cravats, standing upon brass-heeled stilts, behind 
a goodly bale of ruffles, just ready to leave the house ; and they would 
have been off in a second but for their untimely arrest. 

No apology will be made for the introduction here of the follow- 
ing admirable picture : — 

I found one collegian — who had taken an honor upon graduating, had 
been much flattered in the progress of his education, created great hopes 
in his friends, and possessed greater notions of himself — absorbed in a 
most delightful trance of self-homage. He had just entered upon the 
profession of law, and delivered a Fourth-of-July oration, and was then 
enjoying the fruits of his resplendent ddbut. All eyes, he conceived, 
were upon him : the men coveting his talents and genius, and the ladies 
courting an alliance with him through their fair daughters. He had gone 
to the head of his profession at a stride, made a fortune right off, and was 
somewhat perplexed in his mind whether he should go upon the bench 
or go into Congress. This last field opened to wider fame and higher 
glory; but he did not like to leave any distinction unworn if he could 
take them all in his march, and at that time he did not discover much 
difficulty in his way, only he noticed that most other great men had to 
leave one or the other. "Alas, poor fellow!" thought I, "what an ignis 
fatuus you are dancing after I Professional success, as well as political 
fame, depends upon a thousand things you cannot now foresee, but 
especially upon the caprice of a huge and unthinking multitude, who are 
slow to discover merit and slow to reward it. The forum is not like a 
college-stage, nor Congress like a polemic society. From these great 
theatres, as many mournful adventures will reveal, the laurel of renown 
is not easily snatched. How often will day after day and court after 
court pass away and leave you rooted to the spot at which you com- 
menced ! Mountains of no description have ever been readily climbed ; 
and your ascension up the long slopes of wealth or steeps of fame will be 
equally toilsome." 

There was no subject, whether great or small, that did not employ this 
engrossing passion. One was sweeping every thing before him and out- 
stripping all his associates in a perilous fox-hunt. Another was actually ex- 
periencing a flesh-crawling, hair-raising elevation of soul in the loud and 
repeated huzzas of the rabble, vented on no other occasion than that of 
a triumphant horse-race. In both these cases, as well as others that I 
noticed, the smiles and approbation of the fair constituted by far the 
greater part of the fancied glory of these bewitching day-dreams. A 
third, being the lady of a member of Congress, took great pleasure in 
looking down upon the plebeian rank that surrounded her, and a greater 
pride in their looking ujp, as she conceived^ to her official dignity. 



i^. 



AUGUSTIN 8. CLAYTON. 171 

There was no end to the military men whom I found there. Sach march- 
ing and countermarching; such martial music; such fine war-horses, so 
richly and gaily caparisoned ; such splendid apparel ; such glittering swords, 
sashes, sword-knots, and waving plumes; such rapid movements and mighty 
battles, in which the roar of cannon and the clash of arms, mingled with 
clouds of dust, volumes of smoke, and seas of blood, presented an awful 
picture; and then, when returned from ^'wild war's alarms,'' such ravish- 
ing applause from the people ; such balls and dinners ; such city-parading ; 
such corporation-addresses and modest answers, manufactured for the occa- 
sion and by preconcerted arrangement; such transporting and soul-devour- 
ing gazes from the ladies on the public promenades, at the theatres and all 
kinds of public assemblies. Oh, it was delightful to see how well these 
great generals stood with themselves : every one of them had fought one 
duel, and some as many as three, merely for the purpose of lamenting the 
circumstance before some fine lady. 

I found, too, a great many statesmen and orators who seemed to take a 
cruel pleasure in torturing their auditory, — first, by gently leading them, as 
by a hair, from one place to another, altogether charmed by the witchery of 
their persuasive elocution, and then all at once rending them to atoms by 
the lightning of eloquence and a sudden burst of its overwhelming thun- 
der. The poor hearers were represented on the canvas of their fancy with 
distorted countenances, frightfully gazing at each other, their eyes '^ rolling 
in frenzy," their hands clenched, and their breathing almost suspended. 
I seemed to catch the terror-smitten feeling of these unfortunate victims 
of oratory, and I was glad to flee from their fate by dropping the curtain 
upon the subject. 

After describing the thoughts of a widow lady whose sons and 
daughters had in her imagination experienced fortune in a variety 
of shapes, witK sorrow greatly overbalancing the joys of life, the 
writer thus impressively moralizes : — 

Our mortal existence is a fixed and positive state of suffering. We 
enter upon life with a pang and leave it in agony ; our birth is in shrieks 
and our death amid signs. Collectively taken, there is not a pulse of the 
heart that does not begin or end a life ; there is not a human respiration 
which is not to some unfortunate being either his first or last. The 
world, to its successive generations, is nothing but a fading gewgaw ; and 
we ourselves are only empty bubbles, sparkling as we glide down the tide 
of time, and bursting at every breath. 

•• Long o'er the wrecks of lovely life we weep ; 
Then, pleased, reflect, < to die is but to sleep. 
Organic forms with chymic changes strive, 
Live bat to die, and die but to revive. 
Immortal matter braves the transient storm, 
Mounts from the wreck, unchanging but in form." 

The '^ Disappointed Author" is a rich exhibition. He had 
written articles which he fondly concluded would at once establish 
his fame, and he was over looking out for praise. But the poor 
fellow never had the satisfaction of hearing a word of eulogy 
bestowed on his "Letters" which he so highly prized. Once he 



172 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

heard them alluded to in a public reading-room as containing the 
"most incorrigible nonsense and sleep-producing stupidity that 
had certainly ever found its way into print ; that writers of such 
trash and printej'S of such trumpery ought to be sewed up in a bag 
and thrown into a ditch/* — whereupon he fell into a very earnest 
soliloquy, in which he discoursed himself into the opinion that 

Literary intelli^nce is not collected and embodied as it should bo. If 
any iinportaut ideas are suggested, they arc not extended or improved; 
and hence they pass off unnoticed by ourselves, and, of course, by foreifrncrs. 
But if it were some low wit or light Immor, the account of a sea-serpent, 
a boat or a horse race, the arrival of distinguished foreigners, curious mur- 
ders, extraordinary births, wonderful inventions that were never made, 
and amazing appearances that never occurred, all the prints from one end 
of the continent to the other, in compliment to the taste of their witch- 
beheving readers, would be filled with those very dignified and important 
subjects, giving so much consequence to their papers and character to the 
nation. 

Let but a petty ensign in the army happen to knock down an Indian 
chief with the butt of his musket, or a midshipman choke a pirate to 
death, in their official capacities, and, in the pedantry of the black gown, 
they become eo instanft and ipso fncto entitled to attend the President's 
levees, liable to be suffocated in the fumes and steam of a smoking dinner, 
drowned in a pipe of old Madeira, and shot to pieces by cannon in every 
city through which they may pass having good, fat aldermen. Not so by 
literary achievements ; not so by the essayist. 

The "Mysterious Picture" should be read as a whole, to appre- 
ciate the satire which lurks in every paragraph. The quotations 
will close with a fashionable lady whose charms had so wrought on 
two rival admirers that the code of honor had to decide between 
them : — 

This duel seemed to season all her other thoughts with such a smack 
of importance, which, besides giving her a great deal of self-complacency, 
ser\'ed to regale her with a foretaste of her future consequence. She 
appeared to have, though not a sorrowful, yet not a very unreasonable, 
view of the affair. If people were such fools as to try to shoot out what 
little brains they had, (which, by-the-by, she thought would require some 
skill,) why should she grieve about it? Everybody Hkes to be talked of, 
and she did not pretend to suppress the satisfaction it would give her to 
learn that one was killed dead on the spot and the other mortally wounded, 
for the bloodier the battle the more noise it would make : it would even 
get into the papers, those kind propagators of all sorts of good news ; and 
surely, she thought, it will be asked, What is the melancholy cause of such 
a pathetic catastrophe ? This would at once float her name upon the 
waves of conversation, and she would be tossed mountains high on the 
surges of public admiration. 

Sufficient has been said to show the vivid mind of Judge Clayton 
as a statesman, jurist, and miscellaneous writer. After his return 



AUQUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 173 

from Congress in 1835, ho devoted himself to such matters as were 
most agreeable at his period of life, being easy in his fortune, and 
under no necessity to make those exertions which in the accom- 
plishment of his manly ambition he had found requisite. Honored 
for his talents and virtues even beyond the limits of his own State, 
he was especially a favorite in the community where he resided. 
All classes found in him a wise counsellor and ready friend. But 
his active career was near its termination. He was stricken with 
paralysis, which for several months confined him to his house; 
and, on the 21st day of June, 1839, what was mortal of AuGUS- 
TiN Smith Clayton ceased to exist, in the fifty-sixth year of 
his age. 

This memoir will be closed by the testimony of others. Several 
years ago, (1851,) the author applied to Philip Clayton, Esq., 
Second Auditor of the Treasury at Washington, for information 
respecting his father. An extract from the reply is here given to 
questions propounded : — 

He married in Franklin conoty Miss Julia Games, the niece of Jud^e 
Games, — when, I have not the date, — and left when he died eight chil- 
dren, all still living, to wit : — George R. Clayton, William Wirt Clayton, 
Philip Clayton, Almira D. Cobb, Ed. P. Clayti i, Julia Baldwin, Claudia 
C. Howze, and Augusta C. Clayton. I have placed them according 
to age. 

Gen. Jephtha V. Harris, Asbury Hull, Judge Charles Dougherty, all 
of Athens, are the living men who were most familiar with him. Gen. 
Harris was his classmate at college. Judge Longstreet, Oliver H. Prince, 
and Judge Dooly were his intimate associates, and with him constituted a 
galaxy of wit that has never had its equal in any generation of lawyers 
that have graced the Georgia bar. I feel some delicacy in speaking of my 
revered father's character and position as I think it deserves, and I trust 
your good sense will appreciate any extravagance into which my partiality 
may lead me. 

As a writer I conceive he had not his superior in Georgia. His politi- 
cal essays were numerous and have never all been collected. His '^ Atticus,'' 
during the contest between Troup and Clark, was considered as an efficient 
means in the decision to which the people came on that occasion. I have 
heard from men of that day that, as each number would appear, (having 
been originally published in a paper at Athens,) it would be sought with 
avidity. 

His reports in the Legislature of Georgia were also important in fixing 
the legislation of the country. His career in Congress was distinguished 
by ability, and no one rose higher in so short a time. He was the author 
of the *^ 3Iysterious Picture," — a literary work that received the com- 
mendation of the best reviewers of that day. His legal decisions were 
generally considered sound; and the one declaring the law of Georgia 
unconstitutional which prevented an Indian from digging gold on his 
own land (the case of Kanatoo) was approved by IVIarshall, Story, and 
Kent, whoso written opinions he received after he was defeated by the 



174 BENCH AND BAR OF QEOROIA. 

Georgia Legislature for making the decision. But the most fiaished 
production of his pen, in mj opinion, was an oration delivered by him 
at Athens, Georgia, before the Demosthenian and Phi-Kappa Societies, 
in 1828. 

lie was a man of spotless character, devoted to truth and justice, gentle 
in his manners, and kind to all, unsurpassed in wit, and the admired of 
every circle. Even at this late day, I am often reminded by men who 
were his associates in Congress of the pleasant hours they have spent in 
his society in this city. As a father, he was untiring in his attention to 
his children, and especially in impressing upon them all those sentiments 
that ennoble the man ; and to his early training they are indebted for 
their respectability and character. But the crowning virtue of his life 
was his devotion to his wife. As a husband he never had a superior, and 
seldom, if ever, an equal. 

3Iy time at present will not permit me to say more. Should you wish 
information upon any particular point of his character that I have omitted, 
I will cheerfully give it. He was the friend of education and the asso- 
ciate of Dr. Waddell, and rendered more service to Franklin College than 
any man that has ever lived, — of which Dr. Church could no doubt give 
you much information. 

The legal profession has been long reproached with indifference, 
if not with direct hostility, to the Christian religion, and it is the 
desire of the author to remove the complaint whenever he has the 
opportunity. To this end he extracts freely from the discourse 
delivered by the Rev. Whiteford Smith on the occasion of Judge 
Clayton's funeral, June 23, 1839 :— 

Our departed brother was permitted to attain to the age which com- 
monly falls to the lot of man, and, like other men, he had experienced 
that this world was one of perpetual vicissitude. He was one of the ear- 
liest graduates of this institution, and one of its oldest trustees. Having 
realized the benefits of a liberal education himself, he was desirous of 
extending the same advantages to others. He was gifted with a high 
order of talent, which prepared him for the responsible duties which his 
position in society involved. The confidence of his fellow-citisens raised 
him to public office, and he received at their hands one of the highest dis- 
tinctions which it was in their power to bestow. It rarely falls to the lot 
of the statesman to escape unjust censure from his political opponents, 
and frequently this is the meed awarded by his friends. The busy, rest- 
less, political world knows not how to appreciate the character of him 
who, with a consciousness of rectitude which is sufficient to sustain him, 
pursues that course which he honestly believes is right. Our brother 
found it so. In his last hours he appeared to have bestowed a few 
thoughts upon the review of his political life. Addressing one who was 
his old associate and bosom friend, he said, '' His motives had often been 
misunderstood. He felt that he might have erred, but had faithfully 
devoted a portion of his life to the service of his country: though he 
claimed no reward, they had already rewarded him abundantly." Had he 
an enemy, — as what political man has not ? — had the strife of party ever 
brought upon him the hatred or enmity of any? I come commissioned 
from his dying bed to say to such, if such there be, that he forgave them 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 175 

freely, and sent up to heaven for them his ardent prayers. That mercy 
which he sought he generously shared. 

In his domestic relations, as a hushand, father, and master, none could 
have heen more kind, afifectionate, and gentle. Few families have been 
blessed with such a head, and very few have felt and manifested the same 
assiduous desire to minister to the happiness of one who was endeared to 
them by every tie. Peculiarly tender was the exhibition of paternal love 
which he made before he left them. Oh, could you have seen him, as he 
gathered his children around him, and, one by one, encircled them in his 
wasted arms, giving them a father's dying benediction, and commending 
them especially to the grace of God, and entreating and exhorting them 
to seek after the kingdom of heaven, that they might be united there, 
you would have been convinced that the flame of parental love that burned 
within that bosom was one which the cold waters of death could not extin- 
guish, — that the affection which animated that heart sunk not with the 
decay of nature's strength. 

Happy that the providence of God had enabled him to leave a compe- 
tency for the maintenance of his family, he adverted with gratitude to 
that ; but, while he rejoiced that they were thus provided for in this life, 
his chief concern and desire on their behalf related to the life to come. 
He pressed upon them with unusual strength and energy an exhortation 
upon this subject which overwhelmed us all. He adverted with regret to 
the lateness of the period at which he had embraced Christianity. "/ 
have lost, oceans of happiness hy not beginning earlier^* was his own em- 
phatic language. And then, alluding to the support which it afforded him 
m his afflictions, and the value which he then felt it to be, he told them, 
^'If I could leave you all such legacies as I wish, and Christianity were 
set down at the price of a million, I would rather bequeath you Chris- 
tianity than a million of dollars.'' He further urged upon them its excel- 
lence, by virtue of its power to fit them for the duties of life. *' God 
first, and man afterward," said he, and then illustrated his conviction 
that a true Christian must be a philanthropist. 

But there was one dearer to him than all others. She had been his 
guardian angel, his ministering spirit. She had been the wife of his 
youth : she had been the companion of his journey through all its scenes 
of change. When the world wronged him, he knew where to go for solace 
and comfort, — to one whose bosom was his ever-happy home. When 
affliction came, she was still by his side; and when his long-protracted, 
sufferings required vigil upon vigil, she had an eye that asked no slumber, 
and a hand that owned no fatigue. And she it was who had sought for 
many a year to lead him, by her gentle and her winning way, from the turbid 
streams of earthly pleasure to the pure and the better spring at which she 
drank. Hard was the struggle of his soul to leave her. But he gave 
another and a brighter cast even to this heaviest ill. '^Tis only a jour- 
ney," said he, ^'and I am going a little ahead of you, and you will all 

soon follow." 

«<Our dying friends are pioneers to smooth 
Oar rugged pass to death, — to break those bars 
Of terror and abhorrence Nature throws 
'Cross our obstructed way, and thus to make ^ 
Welcome, as safe, our port from every storm." 

Nor were his servants forgotten. Fixing his eye on one who stood by 
his bedside^ and who had been constant in his services throughout his 



■> 



176 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

master's illness, lie commended him for his fidelity, and warned him of 
the dangers to which he was exposed, and particalarly of the cril of in- 
teniperauce; and, unable to address them all, he closed his admonition 
by saying, ** What L say to you applies to all the rest/' 

We have hitherto viewed the character of the deceased only in those 
points of light which are calculated to increase our sorrow for his loo, 
without alTording us any consolation. And if the history of his life were 
here to be wound up, then should we sorrow '^ even as others which have 
no hope." 13ut let us now consider the religious character of our 
brother. 

For the greatest part of his life Judge Clayton had been skeptical 
of the truth of Christianity. Though always respectful to those who 
made a profession of religion, yet he had never submitted himself to the 
cross of Christ until within the last twelve months. During the month 
of August, 1888, he was attacked with paralysis^ and, for a short time, 
lost the use of one hand, and his articulation became very indistinct. 
Upon the day of his attack I visited him. Knowing that the fears of his 
family and friends were awakened for his safety, and probably judging 
from my presence that we were particularly anxious about his spiritual 
state, he addressed me as well as he was able. *' I think I may safely 
say 1 am prepared for the event.'' I replied that I had perceived in his 
conversation from time to time some familiarity with the Bible, and 
hoped he had made it a matter of study. His answer was, — '* No : but 
in all my dealings with the world, and in all my acts, I have always had 
regard to the existence of a just God; and, if there is a man 1 have 
wronged, I do not know him.'' Having endeavored to direct his mind 
to the Lord Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for sin, and to the necessity of 
the merit of his atonement, I inquired if it was his wish that we should 
pray, and, he desiring it, the family assembled, and we prayed. No op- 
portunity offered (from the nature of his afiliction) for some days after for 
religious conversation. Some short time subsequently, however, when 
he had so far recovered as to be able to go about, understanding that he 
desired to see me, I called, accompanied by one of the ministers who was 
in attendance at a protracted meeting then in progress. The subject of 
religion was now introduced, and never had I witnessed so great a change. 
He who, but a short time before^ had been dwelling complacently upon 
his own virtuous deeds, and even meditating an entrance into eternity 
with no other preparation, now sat before me overwhelmed with grief and 
tears at the recollection of his ingratitude to God for all his mercies. He 
had been employed in reviewing the past ; and, though he found that his 
conduct toward the world had been quite equitable and just, he had also 
been convinced that his duties toward his Maker had been neglected. 
Now he inquired what had kept him from being a Christian ; and, having 
learned the true state of his own heart, this was his candid confession, 
and, at the same time, the avowal of his purposes : — " Sir, I am deter- 
mined thutpriiJe of opinion y which has so long kept me from embracing 
Christianity, shall keep me away no longer." Nor was he insensible to 
the difficulties which he met in turning to God with repentance and 
faith. " In pursuing this course,'' said he, " at every step 1 am met by 
a committal. For all the acts of a man's life are so many committab, 
and every act contrary to religion is a committal to vice. But shall 1 
permit these things to deter me when I see the extended arms of my 
God ready to receive me?" 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 177 

Having abandoned that pride of opinion which he felt had so long 
prevented his becoming a Christian, he manifested the greatest meekness 
and docility in the reception of truth. Sensible that in trusting to the 
merit of his own good works he had rested upon a frail and weak founda- 
tion, he now desired to place himself upon another and a surer basis. 
And upon the eternal foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus 
Christ nimself being the chief corner-stone, there was but one way of 
successfully building, and that was by the exercise of an humble and 
confiding faith. How simple and how sincere was his reception of the 
gospel may be best learned from his own words. "Sir," said he, "I view 
myself as though I had been a heathen, shut up in darkness and supersti- 
tion, and you, as a missionary of the cross, (for all ministers arc, or ought 
to be, missionaries,) were presenting me for the first time with the Bible; 
and, although I do not comprehend all that may be in it, yet I receive it 
all by faith. I throw away, as a heathen would his idols, all my old 
systems and views, and adopt this for my creed. I take it all." 

The interviews which it was my privilege to enjoy with Judge Clayton 
subsequent to this were all of the most delightful character. He dwelt 
with much anxiety on the subject of his former opinions, and was espe- 
cially fearful leiBt his influence over others might have led them into 
error, and most earnestly solicitous to erase any such impressions wher- 
ever they had been made. When, therefore, he communicated his desire 
of attaching himself to the Church and making a public profession of 
Christianity, knowing from his weakness that it would be with difficulty, 
if at all, that he could attend at the place of worship, I suggested that 
his wish might be made known without his personal attendance. To 
this, however, he immediately objected, desiring, feeble as he was, to 
perform this act in person, both as a public recantation of his former 
views, and in the hope that the influence of his example upon others 
might be salutary. And accordingly, on the 26th August, 1838, he 
presented himself in the presence of a large congregation, making an 
open profession of faith in his divine Kedeemer, and united himself with 
the Methodist Episcopal Church. At this time he had not experienced 
that sense of joy and spiritual communion with God which he desired, 
but was earnestly seeking after the Lord if haply he might be found. 
Nor did he seek in vain. For but a short time had elapsed after he had 
taken this decisive step when he felt the springing up of inward comfort 
and rejoiced in the clear assurance of his sins forgiven. From this time, 
his whole soul seemed absorbed in the great subject of religion. The 
language of hb heart appeared to be, '* Oh, how I love thy law ! it is 
my meditation all the day.'' It was his darling theme of conversation. 
His very weak state of bodily health allowed him to attend at church but 
rery seldom ; and now he sorrowed that, just as he had begun to appre- 
ciate those religious privileges, he was cut ofif from their enjoyment. 
Still, he patiently submitted to the will of his heavenly Father. 

There was one point upon which our departed brother seemed particu- 
larly sensitive and anxious from the time of his conversion until his 
death. He knew full well that there would not be wanting those who 
would say that his mind had been enfeebled by his disease ; that the 
apprehension of death had alarmed him, and occasioned his pursuing 
this course. To the last this thought seemed constantly before him. He 
adverted to it calmly, but firmly, expressing his conviction that, amid the 
decay of his physical energies^ his powers of composition and reflectioii 

Vol. L— 12 



178 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

were as strong as ever. And many who visited him daring his illness, 
and even in his dying hours, were witnesses of this. Never had I be- 
held one less agitated in prospect of death. He spoke of it, not as of 
an event which must happen, and for which he had been preparing him- 
self by the principles of a stoical philosophy, — not as of an unending 
sleep, where no consciousness of existence should be felt, and where the 
waters of oblivion should wash out all remembrance of the past, — but he 
viewed it rationally, as a winding up of the affairs of this life, which wis 
to be followed by a rigid scrutiny into all his acts and principles and mo- 
tives. Sensible, as every honest dying man must be, that, in the judg- 
ment of an alUwise and holy God, there would be found many delinquen- 
cies and errors which needed a satisfactory atonement, with faith in the 
record which God had given of his Son, ho reposed in the merits of the 
sacrifice which he had offered for the sins of the whole world. Expe- 
riencing the peace and joy which attend upon a sense of sins forgiven, 
he spoke of death as though he were ^^preparcdy* and not only prepared, 
but cheerfully willing and ready to go. He spoke of it as a *^phasure;" 
and, when asked upon one occasion what he wished, ho answered, **To 
die." 

The warm and generous emotions of his heart were not checked by his 
physical weakness. He had a word of affectionate tenderness for all who 
visited him. Sitting upon his bed one afternoon, very shortly before his 
death, he prayed with great earnestness for his enemies, and then ob- 
served : — *' I wish that the world could all be brought into one embraoe, 
and that embrace were mine : I would throw my arms around them and 
bring them all to Christ." 

I called his attention to his expression of '^ having been prepared for 
the event*' when attacked with paralysis last summer. " Ah, yes !" said 
he : ^^ I was then trusting in my morality. But it would not do." 

Are there any here who look upon all this as the result of fear ? Hear 
what he bade me tell you : — "iSay to those stout-hearted stoics — those men 
of learning — who say this is all fear, that they may call it $o: but who 
tcould not /car a God?'* 

Surely it can be called no want of reason or moral courage that man 
should stand in awe of his great Creator. In the pride of his ungrateful 
heart, surrounded by friends and all the pomp of power, he is often ready 
to suppose that the acknowledgment of his dependence upon and obli- 
gations to his Maker involves a weakness which he would not own. 
But there must come a time when the proudest and most stubborn feel 
their utter impotency in his hand. He who can paralyze in a moment 
the strongest arm and still the tongue of the bold blasphemer must be 
confessed to be the Almighty. Too long have men trampled with impious 
foot the sacred canon, and endeavored, by dethroning Gk)d, to exalt and 
deify what they have termed their reason. Vain and arrogant pre- 
sumption ! If to condemn unread the book of revelation, — if to impugn 
and vilify the whole system of Christianity because there are some of its 
truths so sublime and pure that we cannot fully comprehend and appre- 
ciate them, — if this be reason, then folly would be bliss. 

** 'Tis reason our great Master holds so dear ; 
'lis reason's injured rights his wrath resents ; 
*Tis reason's voice obcy'd his glorious crown : 
To give lost reason life he pour*d his own.** 
That 




AUaUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 179 

The chamber where the good man meets hb fate 

Is priyileged beyond the common walk 

Of Tirtnous life, quite in the Tcrge of heaTcn — 

was fiillj realiced by those who were permitted to attend upon oar lamented 
brother in his dying hours. On the Wednesday morning before he died, 
being attacked with violent spasms, his family supposed that he was about 
to be taken away from them. While, overwhelmed with grief at the 
anticipation of his loss, they wept around him, he ministered consolation 
to them all. Throughout the day these paroxysms continued, and in the 
afternoon were still more violent. It was in the close of one of those 
agonies that he distinctly, though slowly, uttered these words: — ''OA, 
what darkness! what dismal darkness! how profound! — -physically 
speaking. But all is bright beyond.'^ He lingered until Friday night, 
slowly sinking ; and, throughout all this time, never did he seem to lose 
sight of the great object of his faith and hope. Frequently and emphati- 
cally would he say, '< Blessed be God I — blessed be God forever V* 

And when at last his hour had come, it pleased God to give him a calm 
and easy passage. As we hung near him to catch his last accents, faintly 
and softly we could hear him murmur, " The way is bright" — " Here's 
room"— "Over Jordan"— " Enter in"— "Door is open"— "This is 
heaven" — " I'm so happy" — " It is ended" — " I am through" — " Bless 
Crod." These short sentences he would frequently repeat in soft and 
gentle whispers. But they were sufficient to indicate what were the 
exercises of his mind as he passed away. Doubtless, could we have seen 
as he beheld, we should have witnessed the ministering spirits, as they 
gathered around, beckoning him onward to the throne of God. Without 
a groan or a struggle, our brother sweetly breathed his spirit into the bosom 
of his Father and his God, — illustrating what one has so beautifully said 
of the Christian's death : — 

** He sets as sets the morning star, which goes 
Not down behind the darkened west, nor hides 
Obscured amidst the tempests of the sky. 
But melts away into the light of heaven.*' 

From what has been said, and from the brief review which we have 
taken of our brother's history, we learn, first, the goodness and long- 
suffering of God. Had our friend been taken from us one year earlier, 
how different would have been our feelings ! But it pleased God to spare 
him, and this long-suffering and forbearance led him to repentance. Is there 
one here to-day who has long lived in the neglect of these sacred and import- 
ant things, and whose heart, now seriously impressed, is bordering on despair, 
thinking that it has been put off until it is too late */ In the instance of 
mercy we have just been considering, let him learn that God is graoiou8 
and ready to forgive ; yea, our Gtod is merciful. And, if he will repent 
and believe, he may yet obtain that blessed hope which can support his 
spirit in the hour of heaviest trial. But let no one presume to defer this 
interest because our brother found pardon at so late a day. Let his own 
words proclaim to you the folly of such a course, and remember that, while 
he rejoiced in the pardoning mercy of God sought and obtained at so late 
a period, he felt that he had lost oceans of happiness by not beginning 
earlier. These oceans of happiness you may enjoy by devoting your- 
selves to God in early life. 

But, as examples of this kind are comparatively rare, we learn, secondly, 
that such manifestations of divine grace are intended for the benefit of 



180 BENCU AKD BAR OF QEORaU. 

all within the raugc of whose observation they come. So St. Paul con- 
templated his conversion : — " For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me 
first Christ Jesus might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to 
them which shouUl liercafier believe in him to life everlasting.** Here 
was a miracle of the grace of God, — a brand plucked from the burning, — 
chosen as a vessel to bear this grace for the encouragement of all who may 
seek the Lord. This testimony comes not from one who was previously 
prejudiced in favor of Christianity, and from whom you might have 
expected it; not from one whose sincerity you might doubt; not from one 
terrified into a confession of sin ; but from one whose early prepossessions 
were hostile to Christianity, but who, from being skeptical of its truth, 
became the subject of its power and cheerfully testified of its excellence; 
from one who had been accustomed frankly and fearlessly to avow his 
opinions ; from one whose intellectual vigor we all respected, and who 
retained that mental power to the last. He now addresses you in thoee 
words which wc have brought you from his dying bed, and calls upon you 
to turn unto the Lord and live. 

Lastly, we learn how complete is the victory which Christianity enables 
us to achieve over the powers of death and the grave. For while we 
contemplate the closing scene of our brother's life, and mark the good 
man as he dies, we cannot but feel that the saying has been brought to 
pass, *' Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death ! where is thy sting? 
O Grave ! where Ls thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the 
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to G^, which giveth us the 
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

*■*' Oh, may we triumph so 

When all our warfare's past ; 
And, dying, find our latest foe 
Under our feet at last!" 

The following announcement appeared in the newspapers soon 
after the death of Judge Clayton : — 

Died, — ^At his residence in Athens, on Friday night, the 2lRt June, 
(1839,) the Hon. Augustin S. Clayton. 

Judge Clayton was born in the State of Virginia, on the 27th Novem- 
ber, 1783. He completed his education at the University of Oeoigia in 
1804. 

Having pursued the study of the law under the late Judge Games, he 
entered in early life upon its practice, and was successful, and rose tc 
distinction at the bar. 

He was chosen a Representative of his fellow-citizens, first in the 
lower and subsequently in the higher branch of the State L^islature, 
where he imparted the impress of his mind to many of the laws under 
which we now live. 

He was thence elected Judge of the Superior Court of the Western 
Circuit, which post he filled with honor and dignity. 

In 1832 he was elected a Representative in Congress for the State of 
Georgia, of which body he became a distinguished member. At the close 
of the last term for which he was elected, in consequence of declining 
health, he retired from public lifc^ except the trusteeship of the Uni- 
versity of Georgia, which station he had filled from a very early period. 

He was highly distinguished for his correct literary taste and chaste. 



AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 181 

flowing wit, which his numerous political and other essays abundantly 
prove. 

In private life and in his social relations the subject of this notice was 
characterized by the greatest affection and the most ardent desire to minis* 
ter to the happiness of those who were dependent upon him. For many 
years Judge Clayton had been exceedingly skeptical upon the subject of 
the Christian religion. Ilis mind was, however, turned to its more calm 
and deliberate investigation during his long and protracted illness. Then 
it was that he regarded his previous neglect as the greatest ingratitude, 
and, under a deep conviction of its truth and of his former errors, he 
made a public profession of faith in Christ, by uniting with the Methodist 
Episcopal Chureh, in August, 1838, which he steadfastly and consistently 
maintained till his death. 

Sensible that his former opposition to Christianity might have infected 
the minds of many with whom he had associated, his most ardent desire 
appeared to be to undo the evils of his former life in this regard. 

The closing scene of his life was one of extraordinary Christian triumph. 
He retained the exercise of his intelK'ctual powers with surprising vigor 
to the last ; and many of his dying expressions will long be remembered 
by his family and friends as precious memorials of the power of divine 
grace in cheering the spirit in its passage to the tomK 

Thus lived and died one among the most talented and distinguished 
citizens of the State of Georgia, whose foibles will be forgotten, but whose 
many virtues will be remembered and cherished long after this brief 
obituary shall have been laid away among the things that were. 

Demostuenian Society, Juno 22, 1839. 

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God to take from us another, and one 
of the most venenible and highly-esteemed, of our members, the Hon. 
AuousTiN S. Clayton, one of the earliest graduates, and for many years 
a trustee, of this institution ; and whereas, wc are duly sensible of the 
loss which we have sustained as a body in the death of one whose reputation 
as a philanthropist, a statesman, and a most valuable and worthy citizen, 
has always reflected honor and dignity on our Society : 

Be it unanimondy Resolved, That we entertain the highest esteem 
and veneration for the deceased, and adopt the following resolutions : — 

Resolved, That the members of this Society wear crape on the left arm 
for the space of thirty days, and that the members of the Phi-Kappa 
Society be requested to unite with us in this testimony of regard. 

Resolved, That the members of this Society attend at the residence of 
the deceased on to-morrow, to walk in procession to his place of burial, and 
that the members of the Phi- Kappa Society be likewise requested to join 
us. 

Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the gazettes of the 
town, and that a copy of the same be transmitted by the committee to the 
bereaved and deeply-afflicted family of the deceased. 

Resolved, That this Society transact no business on to-day, and adjourn 
until Saturday, as an additional mark of respect to the deceased. 

E. W. Harris, 
A. S. Atkinson, 
J. Felder, 

CommiUee. 



182 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 




NOTE TO THE MEMOIR OF JUDGE CLAYTON. 

Since writing the memoir of the Hon. A. S. Clayton, a commu- 
nication has been received from one of his sons,"*" giving an addi- 
tional account of the early life and subsequent career of his father, 
— which is subjoined, and also the letter to which it refers. They 
were intended as a guide to the author in preparing the memoir in 
his own language ; but he prefers to give them as they were writ- 
ten, though a few particulars may be repeated which appear else- 
where, lie could not substitute his own words with any hope of 
improvement. 

The letter answers certain questions propounded by the author. 

1. My father, Auoustin Smith Clayton, was the son of Philip aod 
Mildred Clayton. His mother's roaidcii-nainc was Dixon. He was bom 
at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on the 27th of November, 1783. His 
parents removed to Georgia when he was about a year old, and settled in 
Richmond county, where they both died, I think, soon after the collegiate 
education of my father was completed. My grandmother died some time 
before. I have not the dates ; nor do I suppose them at all necessaij. 
Both were dead at the time of my father's marriage, if I recollect aright. 

2. My mother has no certain information as to his early education, bat 
thinks he was at one time under the tuition of the late William H. Craw- 
ford. Wc do know, however, that he was a student at the Richmond 
Academy when Gen. George Washington visited Georgia in the year 
1791. in my father's library is a copy of Sallust, presented to him by 
Gen. Washington, in which the following appears : — 

'^ Premium of the President of the U. S. to Smith Clayton, a student 
of Richmond Academy, as a memorial of his esteem, and a premium due 
to merit. Presented by his request 

** (Signed,) Robert Forsyth, 

A. Baldwin." 

And immediately, in my father's own handwriting, is this : — 

'^ The speech which produced the above was spoken at the age of seven 

years and four mos." 

He was a graduate in the first class of the University of (Georgia. I have 

no means by me to ascertain the year. You are perhaps correct in naming 

1804. 

3. He read law with Judge Thomas P. Carnes, and was admitted to the 
bar at Washington, Wilkes county. 

4. He first located in Franklin county; but, after remaining one year, 
he removed to Athens, where he resided during the remainder of his life. 
He was married on the 20th December, 1807, at Augusta, to Julia 
Carnes. 

5. He died at Athens on the 21st June, 1839. Eight children sur- 
vived him, four sons and four daughters, — viz. : George R. Clayton, a promi- 
nent lawyer of Columbus, Mississippi; William W. Clajrton; Philip Clay- 
ton, who was appointed Second Auditor of the Treasury Department of the 

* William W\ Clayton, Esq., of Kingston. 



AUGUSTIN 6. CLAYTON. 188 

United States in the year 1849, and has held the position through both 
Oen. Taylor's and Gen. Pierce's administrations ; and Edward P. Clajtoo, 
a commission-merchant of Augusta. My sisters are — Almira Dallas, who 
married Joseph B. Cobb, youngest son of the late Hon. Thomas W. Cobb ; 
Julia Smith, who married Francis G. Baldwin ; Claudia Caroline, who 
married John Howzc ; and Aus^usta, who married William King, Jr. Mr. 
Cobb lives very near, and Mr. Baldwin in Columbus, Mississippi, Mr. 
Howze at Marion, Perry county, Alabama, and Mr. King at Savannah. 
All the above-mentioned were alive at last accounts, (January, 1857.) 
My father never lost but one child, — his second son, named for himseli, 
who gave the highest promise. He was an untiring student, was admitted 
to the bar before he was of age, and died the next week. 

1 have now replied to all your direct questions, and, 1 trust, with suffi- 
cient distinctness. 

From the long letter of my eldest brother, George R. Clayton, who was 
in the practice of the law with my father some five or six years before he 
removed to the West, I at one time thought to cull such facts as were 
essential in the accomplishment of your design ; but, upon more mature 
reflection, 1 have concluded to enclose it to you as it was received. It 
is full and explicit, though written, as must be observed, in great haste. 
Very nearly all the particulars enumerated by him have come under my 
own observation, and I fully corroborate them. 

The letter referred to by my brother in relation to the bank transac- 
tion I withhold only because of the severe reflections upon the betrayer 
of his confidence. One expression from the letter will disclose to you 
the state of my father's feelings at the time. He says, " With the ex- 
ception of the loss of your brother Augustin, it has inflicted the most un- 
mitigated torture of mind that a life of now nearly fifty years has ever 
afforded." I can, however, give you an extract pertinent to the question. 
Let me premise by saying that the money taken on with him to Wash- 
ington City was to pay the balance of his portion (one-fourth part) of the 
machinery for the Athens factory, to Messrs. Rogers, Ketchum & 
Grosvenor, of New York. " I have also informed Rogers & Co. of my 
misfortune. Besides, as soon as my mess here learned how I had been 
treated, they spontaneously, and perfectly unsolicited, offered their names 
to go into the bank for the amount I wanted, and suggested the step, 
stating that under my peculiar circumstances I ought not to let a matter 
of pride prevent me from removing my embarrassment, so far as it related 
to the payment which was expected by Rogers & Co. in New York. I 
yielded to their suggestions; and Gen. Robinson, Judge Mangum, Judge 
Bouldin, Col. King, and Capt. Mclntyre, all endorsed a note immediately 
for three thousand dollars. Col. King went with me this afternoon to 
the President of the bank, and, after stating my situation, received for 
answer that he thought there would be no difficulty in getting the amount 
for at least four months. We had desired till the meeting of the next 
Congress. He said he would lay the matter before the board in the morn- 
ing and give me an answer at 12 o'clock." 

This letter was written on the 4th of March, 1833, and the day before 
his note was discounted. The transaction was one of a purely business 
character, and would never have been made but for the urgent solicita- 
tions of friends (some of whom at least were opponents of the United 
States Bank) and the peculiar circumstances under which he was placed. 

The charge of being bought up by the bank was as base as it was false. 



n 



184 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

I knoto that with regard to the unconstitationalitj of the United States 
Bank my father's opinion was never changed ; for, in a conversation with 
him upon the suhject ahout a year hefore his death, he stated distinctly 
that Congress had no power to charter a bank under the Constitutxonj 
but that it seemed, from the situation of affairs at that time, the great de- 
rangement of the currency, the exorbitant rates of exchange, (being as high 
in many instances as fifteen per cent.,) and the suspension of specie-pay- 
ments by the State banks, — and all this happening so soon after the down- 
fall of the United States Bank, — he was inclined to think it necessary to 
have a regulator of the currency, and that he would not object to see the 
Constitution so amended as to confer upon Congress the power to charter an 
institution of the kind, with all proper restrictions and safeguards. 

It may not be amiss to relate an incident which occurred at the time 
my father connected himself with the Methodist Church in Athens, as it 
gave unquestionable evidence of the thorough work of the grace of Gt)d 
upon his heart. 

For a long time he had the most supreme contempt for the editor of 

the ,and would not deign to speak to him. This was occasioned 

by an unfair, unjust, and violent opposition to him, which was continued 
even after he retired to private life. It was carried to such an extent that 
one of his sons, feeling that ^' forbearance had ceased to bo a virtue/' 
called upon the editor. . . . 

This circumstance is mentioned merely to show the bitterness of feeling 
which existed. Now for the incident. 

On the Sabbath morning in question, the meeting having been quite 
crowded, upon the call of the minister for any who might desire to attach 
themselves to the Church, there appeared at the altar my father, accom- 
panied by my mother, and soon after the editor before mentioned. They 
were received by the minister; and, immediately on seeing him, my father, 
still affected with paralysis, tottered up to the editor and extended his 
hand, thereby indicating to the world that as *^ his trespasses had been 
forgiven," so he forgave those of others. It was received in like spirit; 
and upon the Christian's altar all animosities were forever buried. The 
scene was touching, and produced such a thrill throughout the whole 
audience as to cause many an eye to glisten with the sympathetic tear. 

My brother, as you will see, suggests the propriety of a visit to Athens, 
to see if I could not collect something from among my father's papers 
that might be valuable to you. Having overlooked most of them before 
removing to this [Cass] county, I feel pretty well satisfied that nothing 
additional could be procured. I regret that my father did not keep a copy 
of his correspondence. He retained no copies, except of letters on special 
business. I am therefore denied the pleasure of offering you any thing of 
this style of his writings. Judge A. B. I^ongstreet and my father were 
intimate friends, and he may have some of his letters that might be 
interesting. I cannot think of any one else at this time to whom to 
refer you. 

If you could obtain a copy of a work entitled " The Mysterious Pic- 
ture, by Wrangham Fitz-ramble," of which my father was the author, you 
there have a style differing from his political writings. I have no copy 
of my own, nor can I inform you where you would be likely to procure 
one. The edition is exhausted ; all copies, therefore, are in second handa.^ 

* The author obtained a copy more than twenty years ago, and has it now, boimd 
with other choice literary pamphlets, in his library. 



AUaUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 185 

He also wrote for CoL David Crockett, in his lifetime, a work entitled 
*' The Life of David Crockett, written by Himself." This was, for the 
moBt part^ of a political character. I had a copy, but it has been lost. 

From the letter of George R. Clayton, Esq. referred to in the 
preceding, extracts are here given, further to illustrate the charac- 
ter of Judge Clayton : — 

As a man, he possessed an unbounded benevolence and was sensitive 
to the sufferings of the poor. Frequently have I known him when, from 
the scarcity of corn and provisions, much distress among the poor pre- 
vailed, and when he had it for sale and tho price very high on account 
of the scarcity, open his cribs to the poor and let them have it witbout 
charge. And I can safely say that no man was ever denied provisions, 
when he could possibly spare any, because they had not the means of 
payment. This was a trait in his character I have often thought of with 
pride and admiration. There were a good many poor families residing 
near his plantation \ and during years of scarcity, (which was frequent 
in that section of the country, as the soil was very poor and unproduc- 
tive,) provisions were supplied to those families without charge, or on the 
most liberal terms, instead of high prices from those who were able to pay 
the cash. 

He was a man of nice, delicate feelings, and very strong attachment to 
those with whom he was familiar. But such was his fondness for wit and 
cutting satire, that he rarely let an opportunity escape him in exercising 
it upon his best friends \ and, no doubt, he has often wounded feelings 
where no unkindness was intended. His wit was witbout malivty and 
was more the result of a lively humor than a desire to injure feelings. 
From his mind it wholly passsed away with the moment and the occa- 
sion \ yet I have no doubt it left behind many a secret enemy. He was 
always generous with his wit. It afforded him as much pleasure and 
amusement to be himself the subject of a good repartee as to exercise his 
wit on others. 

In his domestic relations he was very free with his children, often 
making them the subjects of his wit, and allowing them full latitude in 
their replies and witticisms on him. He therefore became a common 
centre for the witticisms of his family; and, whenever one of his children 
made a successful hit, the child, instead of being reproved, was considered 
as having won a laurel. I recollect an instance which delighted him. 
He had told an anecdote which ran thus: — A gentleman, travelling 
through the Indian nation, stopped at a spring to take some refresh- 
ments; and, whilst there, an Indian came to the spring, with whom the 
gentleman entered into conversation. He asked the Indian what was his 
employment, who replied that he was a preacher. He was asked where 
he preached. The reply was, at the upper town and the lower town. He 
was further asked if they paid him any thing for preaching. " Yes," was 
his answer. "How muchi"' said the gentleman. "Upper town pay two 

dollar and lower town pay one dollar." "That is d n poor pay,** said 

the gentleman. "Yes, but d n poor preachy too,'* replied the Indian. 

Soon atter this anecdote was related in the family, my father was elected to 
some office, and I asked him what salary he was to receive. He informed 
me ; and 1 replied that I thought it a poor salary. " Yes," said one of my 
lUtle sisters, ^^but it is d n poor preach, too,'* This so delighted him 



186 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

that she was the toast of the family for a week afterward. She had 
bearded the lion in his deo and come off victorious. 

He always encouraged his children to exercise their wit upon him, and 
was pleased when any of us were successful. My wife, never having been 
accustomed to that kind of freedom in children toward parents, when first 
introduced into the family thought us the most disrespectful children to 
parents she had ever seen, and so expressed herself to nie. But she soon 
found it was /rcedom without disrespecty Siud pfta^mtrt^ without rudenesiy 
and had resulted from the vivacity, wit, and humor on the part of my 
father whilst in social intercourse with his family. He was an impulsive 
man, erring and repenting almost at the same moment. He was quick- 
tempered, — would sometimes act under a state of passion, and repent of it 
afterward, although the act itself might have been correct. He rarely 
ever chastised a child or servant, and, if he ever did, it was in a passion; 
and, whenever his passion subsided, he would weep like an infant for 
having done it. 

As a judge, he was peculiarly sensitive to a rigid maintenance of the 
independence of the bench as against popular clamor and opinion. He 
derived his ideas of the independence of the bench and the course for a 
judge to pursue in a great degree from the example of Lord Mansfield 
in the celebrated case of Mr. Wilkes. He was greatly impressed with the 
remarks of Lord Mansfield in that ca.sc. I have often heard him repeat 
them, particularly that portion commencing, ** But here let me pause." • 

It is fit to take some notice of the various terrors being out, the numerous crowds 
which have attended and now attend in and about the hall, out of reach of hearing 
what passes in court, and the tumults which, in other places, have shamefully in* 
suited all order and government. Audacious addresses in print dictate to tu, lh>m 
those thej cail the people, the judgment to be given note and afterward upon the 
conviction. Reasons of policy are urged, from danycr to the kingdom by commotions 
and general confui>ion. Give me leave to take the opportunitj of this great and 
respectable audience to let the whole world know all such attempts arc vain. Unless 
we have been able to find an error which bears us out to reverse the outlawry, it 
must be affirmed. The Constitution does not allow reasons of state to influeac* 
our judgments. God forbid it should ! We must not regard politicui coiue- 
qucnces, how formidable soever they might be. If rebellion was the certain conso- 
quence, we are bound to say, *'Fiat justitia ruat caelum.** I wish popuiarity^ but it 
is that popularity which folloics^ not that which is run after : it is that popularity 
which, sooner or later, never fails to do justice to the pursuit of noble ends by nobk 
meant. I will not do that which my conscience tells me is tcrong upon this occasion 
to gain the huzzas of thousands or the daily praises of all the papers which cobm 
from the press. I will not avoid doing what / think is rights though it should draw 
upon me the whole artillery of libels, — all that fnhehood and malice can invent, or 
the credulity of a deluded populace can swallow. 

See the remarks at largo in the 4th volume of Burrows*s Reports, p. 
2561, Rex t'«. John Wilkes, Esq. I have often heard my father repeat 
the above remarks of Lord Mansfield and speak of them as the true teii 
of an upright judge. They had made a very deep impression on his 
mind ; and, when he came upon the bench, he has often said to me that 
he took those sentiments as his guide of action. And, in examining hit 
history as a judge, I think it will be found that he never looked to con- 
sequences to himself or faltered in the course pointed out by those senti- 
ments. Upon several occasions he was compelled, in the discharge of 
official duties, to resist popular clanwr and prejudice. In one case {I 
think it was in Habersham county: it was the case known as the Indiaa 
Reserve Case) I understood he was threatened with personal violence by 



AUOUSTIN 8. CLAYTON. 187 

the mob for his decbion iq favor of the Indians, and his friends were on 
their gnard to prevent it. Col. Samuel A. Wales may remember the 
circnmstances. 

The last judicial act of his life deprived him of bis office, and which I 
have always looked upon as the proudest of his public career. I allude 
to the decision in favor of the Cherokee Indians, and which was noticed 
in Gov. Gilmer's Annual Message to the Legislature in rather a rude 
manner, asserting that the policy of the State in acquiring possession of 
the Indian territory had been frustrated by the decision of a judge, &c. 
This decision was made a short time before the meeting of the Legis- 
lature at which a judge in his circuit was to be elected for the constitu- 
tional term. He was a candidate for re-election without opposition from 
any person of his party, and they in power at the time. His re-election 
was considered certain; when some of his intimate friends ascertained 
what would be his decision in the case, and, knowing that it would raise 
a great clamor against him, as it was in direct opposition to the policy of 
the State and the prejudices and desires of the people in acquiring the 
possession of the Indian territory, and also in some degree affecting the 
stability of the party in power, as the acquisition of Indian lands was 
one of the party hobbies of the day, and not absolutely necessary that the 
decision should be made public before the election, the suggestion was 
made to him by friends who greatly desired his election that the decision 
should be postponed until after the election. This he declined, preferring 
the character of an upright and indepeodent judge to the office. Some of 
his best friends — among them the lamented Judge Dougherty — differed 
from him in opinion. As to the correctness of the opinion I have no- 
thing to say. That is a matter to be judged by the public. I only men- 
tion it to show a trait of character he possessed in an eminent degree as a 
judge, — ^to wit, independence; for every motive of a personal kind and 
every inducement of a selfish nature would have prompted to a different 
decision. 

The decision was made just before the election, and, as expected by his 
friends, it created great opposition to the renewal of his term of office. 
Judge Dougherty had been elected a member of the Legislature from 
Clark county. Ho resigned his seat within a certain time, became a 
candidate for the judgeship, and was elected. Up to this time Judge 
Dougherty had been the warm personal and intimate friend of my father, 
and I have not the least doubt continued to be so to the day of his death, 
though my father was much hurt with him at the time. Judge 
Dougherty's position was simply this : I have no idea that he would ever 
have come in competition with him so long as my father desired the office 
and there was any probability of his election ; but Judge Dougherty's 
friends looked to him as the successor of my father to the judgeship of 
the Western Circuit, and no doubt he desired it himself. After the 
decUion had been made. Judge Dougherty and his friends (and who were 
also the friends of my father) became satisfied that his re-election was 
impossible; and, as they were unwilling that any other person should 
occupy the position which had been designed for him. Judge Dougherty 
was prevailed upon to become the candidate, — not so much to defeat my 
father as to prevent any other person from stepping in ahead of him. 

I am satisfied, from the state of feeling at that time, that almost any 
one would have been elected over my father. Many of his friends, know- 
ing the cordial relations that existed between them, as well as the con- 



188 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

nection bj marriage, were disposed to censure Judge Dougherty for the 
opposition ; but I have ever been able to do justice to his purity of mo- 
tive, and uiy father also became satisfied of his sincere friendship, as theii 
continued intimacy proved. Notwithstanding his defeat for the judgeship 
by his own party, they still entertained for him the highest regard, and 
sought to make amends immediately by placing him in another position. 
The objection was not so much to the man as to the decision. It became 
necessary to sacrifice the judge in order to carry out the policy. This 
was a sore trial to his party, among whom he had many friends who were 
satisfied that he acted from the purest motives in the discharge of duty. 

At the time of this election a vacancy had occurred in Congress by the 
resignation of one of the Keprescntatives* from Georgia, and the vacancy 
was soon to be filled. His political and personal friends, who had just 
aided in his defeat, insisted upon placing the name of my father before 
the people for the office. Members of Congress were then elected by 
general ticket, the district sjstem having been since adopted. At first 
he unhesitatingly declined. I never saw him more mortijicd in my life 
than at his defeat for the bench, — not that he regarded the office as of 
any consequence to him, but his mortification arose from the defeat, by 
his own partf/j for (what he conceived) an act of duti/, and the peculiar 
circumstances under which he was defeated. He stated to me that he 
would go home and retire from public life, and never again be a candidate 
for office. And such was his determination up to the night before he left 
Milledgeville. His friends were very much opposed to his leaving Mil- 
ledgeville under such a feeling of mortification. On the night ^before he 
left. Dr. Henry Branham, an old personal and political friend, called to 
see him after he had retired to rest, and, seating himself by his bedside, 
remained with him until midnight, — in fact, never left him until he hid 
in some degree reconciled him to his defeat and procured from him a 
promise to suffer his name to be announced as a candidate for Congreas. 
I was not present at the interview, but know that it was long and earnest 
on the part of Dr. Branham, who, I believe, was a sincere friend of my 
father, though I am impressed he voted against him for the judgeship: 
yet of this 1 am not certain. 

On next morning his name was announced as a candidate for Congress, 
which resulted in his election by the people. This trust was afterward 
renewed by his constituents until he voluntarily retired from the position. 
The documents and papers of the day afiford something of his political 
history, which I have not within my reach to consult. 

He was very poor when he commenced life. His father left two sons 
and an unmarried daughter, with small property. To his sons he gave 
a liberal education, and to his daughter all his property. I have often 
heard him say that when he commenced his profession he had but one 
object in view, and that was a support. But after he obtained a support 
his ambition for distinction was aroused. At first, fame never entered 
into his calculations. Poverty so stared him in the face that he looked 
upon it as the only foe with which he was called upon to contend. He 
amassed a good fortune, leaving his widow and eight children in inde- 
pendent circumstances. 

With regard to his religious sentiments, he was,* as stated in the funenl 
discourse of the Ilev. Whiteford Smith, skeptical. My mother fi»t 



* Hon. Wilson Lumpkin, who was elected Governor in 1831. 




AUaUSTIN 8. CLAYTON, 189 

united herself with the Methodist Episcopal Church before anj church- 
building had been erected in Athens. I can just recollect it. There 
were but two or three Methodists in Athens at the time. The father of 
Methodism in Georgia — the Rev. Hope Hull, the ancestor of Mr. Asburj 
and Dr. Henry Hull — had a country church a few miles from Athens, in 
which he preached to a small congregation. Not a vestige of this building 
is lefl. My mother united herself to this church with the full and free 
consent and approbation of my father; and, in fact, he was pleased at the 
course she adopted, though skeptical himself at the time. She is now 
the oldest member of the Athens Church, and has through a long life 
exhibited the power and truth of Christianity. 

My father was always delighted with the morality of the Bible, and 
has often said that it could only have originated from Divinity. The 
human miud could not have conceived it, as it was far above human 
thought. He practised the morality of the Bible in his intercourse with 
his fellow-men ; but the doctrine of salvation by faith in and through 
Christ seemed to be his stumbling-block. This doctrine was a mystery to 
him. He believed that man would be judged by his works, and he was 
working to that end. 

As I before stated, he was remarkably charitable, always paying annu- 
ally his full proportion, to the extent of his means, for the support of the 
gospel, endeavoring at all times to '' render unto Cscsar the things that 
were Caesar's;" but he failed to "render unto God the things that were 
God's." His error consisted in too great reliance on himself, — a fatal 
error, which many commit. I have often known him to quiet himself by 
comparing his own life and conduct with unfaithful members of the 
church, and would frequently ask my mother, who was very solicitous for 
his conversion to Christianity, whether she would have him exchange his 
prospects of salvation with these unfaithful members. He has often 
entered into conversation with my mother on his skeptical views of the 
doctrine of salvation through Christ; and, although she was not able to 
compete with him in argument, her pious life was a sufficient refutation. 
His confidence in her religion was never shaken. He was devotedly 
attached to her, and she had an unbounded influence over him ; and I 
believe she never lost faith in his renouncing his error before his death. 
In this her faith was fully realized, for before his death he made a public 
recantation of all his errors on the subject of religion. Many years before 
his profession of religion I had removed to Columbus, Mississippi, and 
have a letter from him in which he first announced to me his change of 
opinion on that subject, an extract from which is here given : — 

Athens, August 21, 1888. * 

Mt dear QEoaGE : — Under the late, and doubtless distressing, iDtelligince jon 
baTe receiTed of my health, (an attack of paralysis,) I have supposed that a few 
lines under my own hand would be peculiarly gratifying to you ; and hence the 
present feeble attempt. I am very far from being restored even to my former con- 
dition ; but I am certainly in a progress toward it, which I never at one time 
expected. I hare nearly recovered the strength of my afflicted arm and hand, and, 
in a good degree, regained my speech. Indeed, as to the latter, I feel sensible 
that its greatest defect arises more from a weakness of the lungs than a muscular 
inability of the organs of speech. 

I am flattered by medical men, and I flatter myself, that I may ultimately recover; 
that the rigid regimen under which I am now placed to remove the severity of my 
last attack will, if it succeed in that object, carry with it the old disease. I confess 
I am not sanguine, for my old complaint is almost too deep-seated to hope for an 
entire cure. And although I may be measurably relieved fh>m my paralysis, at 



190 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

least so as to linger out some few years, yet I dare not hope for a hearty restoratMm 
to health ; nnd taking all my afflictions together, and the periodical and progresaiTa 
chnrncter of their warnings, I have determined to appreciate them, as perhaps they 
may have been meant, as chastisements intended for my future peace. And it 
giyes me great satisfaction to inform you that, though late, yet I trust not the leas 
comforting, I have thrown myself unfalteringly upon that reliance which has so 
long been the hope and comfort of yourself and your dear mother. 

I have most sincerely repented of my past follies, and do now embrace, with 
unfeigned sincerity, the truth of the Christian religion ; not that I feel or have felt 
any secret communication of divine influence upon my heart, any Airther than as I 
am impressed with a sense of duty, and as a reasonable service which is due from 
the creature to his Creator, and that infinite obligation imposed by the ten thou- 
sand blessings we have enjoyed and do daily enjoy. There is fealty dne somewhere 
for our existence and its numerous favors ; and where does it so properly belong as 
to their great Author? This I feel, and this sentiment I cherish and cultivate. 
And, as there is no better code of duty than that furnished in the Bible, I do most 
cheerfully, from this time out, receive it as my guide and director, throwing myself 
upon its promises in and through the strong assurance of faith. I receive it 
without further cavil or dispute, and hope finally to realize, by a constant observ- 
ance of its commands, that I have not made myself the dupe of a blind faith. I 
hold that a blameless life and conversation, and a perfect conformity to the will of 
God as known and understood, is the best evidence of a changed heart, and shall 
try to square my future life by this most reasonable test. 

His religious views and fceliDgs from the date of this letter to the time 
of his death may in a great degree be found in the funeral discourse of 
Dr. Smith. 

In relation to the loan made by the United States Bank, I think mj 
father made a public expos6 of the whole matter in some of the Georgia 
papers. The facts were simply these : — 

He had borrowed a large sum of money to pay for his shares of stock 
in the Georgia factory, and carried it with him to Washington City, 
when he went on to Congress, to settle for the machinery, or his portion 
of it. When he arrived there, he found the Georgia money which he 
took with him at considerable discount, and was advised by a friend to 
send the monev to Augusta and procure a check on New York, which 
could be purchased at a small premium. He sent the money to A. 
McKenzie, his commission-merchant in Augusta, with the request that 
he would purchase a check and forward the same immediately. 5lcKenzie 
used the money and he lost it, or the greater portion, which placed him 
in a very peculiar and distressing situation. His mess (and among them 
the late Vice-President, Col. King, of Alabama) insisted upon his obtain- 
ing the money from one of the banks in Washington City, and endorsed 
his note for him, and thereby enabled him to perform his contract with 
the party from whom the machinery had been purchased. The note was 
discounted by the branch of the United States Bank in Washington City, 
in the due course of business, on short time, and was paid at maturity. 
Out of this transaction arose the charge, made in a heated political contest, 
that he had been bought up by the bank, &c. If he ever changed his 
views and opinions relative to the unconstitutionality of the United States 
Bank, I am not aware of it; and, even if he did, this purely business- 
transaction could have furnished no inducement for such a change. 

I omitted to mention in the proper place that my father was emphati- 
cally a peace-maker, and did much good in quieting difficulties between 
his neighbors. When any difficulty arose between the students and the 
faculty of Franklin College, (which was frequent,) the deHnquent student 
always came to him for advice and his influence in adjusting the affair; 
and he rarely ever failed in restoring the students to their place in ool- 




AUGUSTIN S. CLAYTON. 191 

lege and in the respect and regards of the faculty, as many a graduate of 
the Georgia University can fully attest. 

Since the foregoing was arranged for the press, the author has 
obtained from a file of the Georgia Journal of November 14, 1831, 
a copy of Chancellor Kent's letter to Judge Clayton, which is sub- 
joined, together with the note of Judge C. introducing it : — 

MiLLBDGEViLLE, November 12, 1831. 
3l£SSRS. Editors : — You will confer a favor by publishing the following 
letter of Chancellor Kent. In making this request, I have only to remark 
that the sole consideration for making it is to submit the testimony 
of one, in favor of my legal reputation, whose charact-cr as a jurist will 
entitle his evidence to great weight. He is justly considered the Black- 
stone of America, and his character as a lawyer stands as high in Europe 
as it does in his own country. Ue has never been engaged in either 
party or political strifes, and his whole life has been devoted to legal 
research. This publication is asked under not the slightest temper of 
eomplaint for my late removal from office ; for I hope I shall have it in my 
power, at a more convenient season, to lay before my fellow-citizens such 
a statement of the whole' matter as will show there is no necessity, on my 
part, for either ill-will or reproach. 

Respectfully, yours, 

A. S. Clayton. 

New York, Oct. 18, 1831. 

Dear Sir : — I was favored yesterday with your letter of the 3d inst., 
together with the Sf/uthern Recorder of September 29, containing your 
opinion in the case of the State of Georgia vs. Canatoo, 

That opinion has been read by me with great care and attention ; and, 
agreeably to your request, I subjoin the conclusions to which my own 
mind has arrived in regard to the two material points in the case : — 

1. It appears to me that upon the whole the statute applies to the case. 
I can only judge from the extracts from it contained in your opinion. 
The statute asserts that the mines alluded to are of right the property of 
Georgia, ami it authorizes the Governor to take possession of those mincSy 
and to employ force to protect them from all further trespass. I presume 
such forcible possession has been taken, and that the offence alleged 
against the Cherokee Indian arose subsequently. But the statute is so 
exceptionable in reference to the rights of the Cherokecs to their lands 
(and which include the mines therein, as well as the trees and herbage 
and stones thereon) under the existing treaties with them, and in reference 
to the Constitution and constitutional authority of the United States, that 
I agree with you that such a statute should receive an interpretation, //' 
possible, favorable to constitutional and treaty rights. If such a statute 
does not apply in very terms to the very case of a Cherokee Indian digging 
in the mines, the benign intendment would be that the Legi&ilature did 
not intend it, because such an intention would contravene the clear rights 
of the Cherokecs to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of the lands 
within their territory, secured to them by treaty. 

2. But the better way is not to rest upon any such construction, but to 
go at once, as you have done, to the great and grave question which 
assumes the statute to have intended to deprive the Cherokecs, without 



192 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

their coDscnt and without purchase^ of the use and enjoymeot, in part at 
least, of their lands secured to them by national treaties, and which calls 
into discussion. the constitutional validity of the statute. 

On this point I am entirely with you, and in my opinion your argument 
is sound and conclusive, and you have examined the subject with candor 
and accuracy, and with the freedom of judgment which your station 
and character dictate. 

I am almost entirely persuaded that the Cherokee title to the sole use 
and undisturbed enjoyment of their mines is as entire and perfect as to 
any part of their lands, or as to any use of them whatever. The oceu- 
2)anci/ in perpetuity to them and their posterity belongs to them of right, 
and the State of Ocorgia has no other right in respect to the Indian 
jtrojjcrtt/ in their lands than the rijht o/ pre-emption by fair purcJuue: 
no other interest in the lands, as property, belongs to the State; and to 
take possession of the mines by force is substituting violence for law and 
the obligations of treaty-contract. It appears to be altogether without any 
foundation to apply the common-law doctrine of waste to the case ; and I 
cannot but think that the Legislature of Georgia would not have passed 
the statute if they had duly considered that the Indian lands have never 
been claimed, or the occupancy of them, in the most free and absolute 
manner by the Indians, questioned, either by the Royal Grovernments 
before the American Revolution, or by the Union, or by any State since, 
except in open wars, or except the claim was founded upon fair purchase 
from the Indians themselves. 

The proceeding of Georgia in this case is an anomaly, and I think it 
hurts the credit of free and popular governments and the moral character 
of our country, and is in direct violation of the constitutional authoritj 
of the United States as manifested by treaties and by statutes. I cannot 
think that the high-spirited, free, and noble race of men who compose the 
citizens of Georgia would be willing, on reconsideration, to do any such 
thing. 

Yours, respectfully, 

James Kxsv. 

Hon. A. S. Clayton. 



VII. 

PAUL COALSON. 

It is the prevailing custom to speak of the early dead with more 
than ordinary regret, because, had they lived, there was evidence 
to justify the hope that they would have reached high places and 
acted a useful part in the community. If this indulgent view be a 
weakness, it is at least an amiable one. It can be accounted for 
by the fact, within every man's experience, that the presence of an 
object does not afford that interest to the beholder for the time- 
being which the imagination supplies after the object is withdrawn, 
and especially when distance or death renders it impossible to be- 
hold it again. On this principle we invest the memory of a rising 
young man with a charm which cannot be exerted over us by any 
amount of living excellence. 

The author confesses this relation to the gentleman whose charac- 
ter is under review. Their acquaintance did not exceed a year on 
the circuit ; yet in this brief period a warm personal friendship was 
matured, and g/reatly increased by the cordial hospitality which the 
author experienced from Mr. Goalson and his family connections. 
He was obtaining a good practice in Thomas and the adjoining 
counties which he attended. , In all his cases, whatever the amount 
or principle involved, great or small, he was equally industrious, 
sanguine, and persevering. His was a temperament that could 
submit to labor and at the same time indulge its lively propensi- 
ties. Truly can it be said of him, that if he had lived twenty or 
thirty years longer his reputation at the bar would have been 
enviable. His short history can soon be unfolded. 

Paul Coalson was born in Burke county, Georgia, on the 19th 
day of August, 1799. After passing through the primary schools 
of his neighborhood, he was sent to Eatonton, where he was placed 
under the tuition of Rev. Alonzo Church until he was prepared to 
enter college. From the school at Eatonton he went to Athens, 
became a student of Franklin College, and graduated in August, 
1824. For the last year or two of his collegiate course he devoted 
his leisure moments to the study of the law under the direction of 
Judge Clayton, and, shortly after graduating, was admitted to the 
bar at Athens. 

Vol. I.— 13 198 



\ 



194 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

In the spring of 1825, Mr. Goalson married Miss Elizabeth 6. 
Blackshear, daughter of Edward Blackshear, Esq., of Thomas 
county. He continued to reside at Athens the balance of that year, 
and then removed to Thomas county, where he opened a law-office. 
That portion of Georgia was then on the Indian frontier, and the 
abode of a miserable population, such as the adjoining wilds of 
Florida had invited. Robberies and murders were frequent, some- 
times perpetrated by white men and most generally shifted off on 
the Indians. The Hon. Moses Fort, Judge of the Southern Circuit, 
held the first court in Thomas county in 1826. Two Indians were 
convicted before him for the offence of murder. They had killed a 
man by the name of White as the latter and his friends were 
trying to recapture certain property which the Indians had stolen. 
The late William II. Torrance, Esq. was appointed by the court 
to see that the prisoners had a fair trial. His plea to the jurisdic- 
tion of the court, on the ground that the offence was committed in 
Florida, (within certain disputed lines,) having been overruled, very 
little could be said to the merits. The solicitor-general (since 
Judge Warren) had the assistance of Mr. Coalson, — if not in the 
argument, at least in the evidence. It is presumed, however, that 
the prosecution needed no very special aid, as there was no adverse 
public opinion to combat. 

When the prisoners were brought before the ctvLvt to receive 
sentence of death, they were told through an interpreter what was 
to be done with them, — hung by the neck until they were dead. 
The judge omitted to invoke the usual blessing, — " May God have 
mercy on their souls !" — for the reason that the prisoners did not 
understand English. 

The successor of Judge Fort on the bench was the Honorable 
Thaddeus G. Holt, who was elected in 1828. In the spring of 
1829, the author attended him on the circuit, which then consisted 
of thirteen counties, — Twiggs, Laurens, Pulaski, Telfair, Irwin, Ap- 
pling, Ware, Lowndes, Thomas, Decatur, Early, Baker, and Dooly, 
occupying about nine weeks, and the judge and bar travelling up- 
ward of six hundred miles to complete the riding. At Lowndes 
the bar was joined by Mr. Coalson, whose society was ever agree- 
able, and his peculiar earnestness in his causes quite refreshing. 

By his marriage, Mr. Coalson secured a large family influence, 
which was of great advantage to him in the profession. Thomas 
county is well known for the wealth and upright character of many 
of its citizens, among whom may be mentioned General Thomas E. 
Blackshear, Thomas Jones, Mitchell Jones, E. R. Young, William 



PAUL COALSON. 195 

H. Reynolds, Thomas Wyche, Duncan Ray, Lucien H. Raines, 
Thomas Mitchell, the late James J. Blackshear, Captain Thomas 
Johnson, Daniel Mclntyre, Col. Richard Mitchell, Nathaniel Mit- 
chell, Michael Young, and others, all of whom were men of sterling 
worth and of high position, more or less connected with Mr. Coal- 
son, and all his especial friends and patrons. The brothers 
Mitchell were the uncles of Mrs. Coalson, whose mother was Emily 
G. Mitchell previous to her marriage with Edward Blackshear, in 
Montgomery county, who died on his large estate in Thomas county 
in 1829 ; and on the 23d day of March, 1830, his son-in-law, the 
warm-hearted Paul Coalson, breathed his last, in the thirty-first 
year of his age. His eldest son, Edward B. Coalson, is now a 
wealthy planter in Thomas county, having married a niece of the 
late Major John Young, of Macon county. 

In those days (1829 to 1834) several members of the Florida 
bar practised in the Superior Courts of Georgia, particularly in 
Thomas and Decatur counties, and by their legal ability and social 
qualities contributed much to the enjoyment of the profession. 
Among them were Gen. R. K. Call, since delegate in Congress 
and Governor of the Territory ; Hon. James D. Westcott, 
United States Senator ; Hon. Leslie A. Thompson and Hon. Charles 
H. Dupont, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida; 
Hon. Thomas Baltzell, Circuit Judge; John K. Campbell, Esq., 
United States Attorney for the Middle District ; James A. Ber- 
thelot, James A. Dunlap, Francis A. Cash, Philip S. White, (brother 
of the Hon. Joseph M. White,) Oscar White, his cousin, and Col. 
Richard H. Long, formerly of Wilkes county, one of the Broad 
River Colony mentioned in Gov. Gilmer's work, " Georgians." 

Of the gentlemen named above as mingling with their Georgia 
brethren in the contests of the forum, several are known to be dead. 
Mr. Campbell was killed in a duel in Thomas county, August, 1833, 
by Mr. George Hamlin, a merchant of Florida, who died in a few 
months afterward from distress of mind. Messrs. Dunlap, Cash, 
Berthelot, and Oscar White are also in the grave. 

Before taking leave of the Florida bar, the author will be par- 
doned for dwelling on the peculiarities of two of its members, — 
both fine story-tellers and teeming with fun. Mr. Westcott had 
been a clerk in the State Department while Mr. Van Buren was 
Secretary, and could imitate the manner and official bearing of the 
different heads of Department, with Gen. Jackson as the master- 
spirit. He could repeat with diplomatic gravity or with the easy, con- 
versational flow of words, as the case might require. The scenes 



196 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

were often amusing in the extreme. He had imbibed the spirit of 
each character, and drew only life-pictures, — nothing like caricature. 
It was indeed a treat of the highest order to see him in one of his 
best moods. Ten or fifteen years afterward, in the Senate, he 
was noted for his independence and wit and racy humor in debate, 
lie had fought a duel with Judge Baltzell. 

Phil. White, as he was familiarly called, was also a duellist, but 
a man of great suavity of deportment and of mirth-provoking 
qualifications. Ilis stories were inimitable, and there was no 
scantiness of supply. Those who once heard him can never forget 
the voice, the looks, the whole reality which made his entertain- 
ments so amusing. No stage representation was so true to nature. 
In high life, in all classes, — among the learned and the illiterate, 
the sprig of fashion or the country clown, the man of common 
sense or the stupid dolt, men wise or humble in their own esti- 
mation, — nothing came amiss with him. He set before you the 
originals in comedy as Booth did in tragedy. Mr. WTiite was not 
then a rigid temperance-man. It is said that he has since acquired 
considerable celebrity and been extensively useful as a travelling 
lecturer.* 

And here the author makes no apology for introducing in this 
memoir John Taylor, Esq., whose acquaintance he formed in 1829, 
at Thomas Superior Court, through the politeness of Mr. Coalson. 
Mr. Taylor was a Virginian, — a highly-educated man, his genius 
sparkling before a jury, his action graceful, and his style ornate, — 
between the melting compactness of Erskine and the rich drapery 
of Phillips. Let not this comparison raise a smile. There are 
witnesses now living in the southern counties of Georgia who will 



* Mr. White has resided in Philadelphia pincc 1841. He first held the office of Grttod 
Worthy Patriarch of the Sons of Temperance of the State of PennsyWania, and then 
Most Worthy Patnarch of the Oi*dor fur North America. He visited every State and all 
the principal cities and towns in the Union, delivering temperance addresses amid 
the greatest public enthusiasm, — from the Park in New York, before forty thousand 
people, down to country villages, — inducing over two hundred thousand persons to 
take the pledge of total abstinence. He also extended his triumphal visits to Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick, and other sections of the British Provinces. During his 
Temperance campaign from 184o to IBoo ho was everywhere received with the 
hiphi'St honors, and has been met by processions of four or five hundred Sons of 
Temperance in full regalia, on horsoback, with bands of music, and escorte*! in a 
carrirtge drawn by six horses. His likeness has appeared in several costly annuals, 
and memoirs of him have been published establishing his reputation as one of the 
most effective orators tlmt ever advocated the tempcmnce reform. By ff-ecial 
invitation he has addressed several State Legislatures on the subject of prohibitory 
laws. 



t 



PAUL COALSON. 197 

sustain any amount of eulogy or any extravagance of description 
as to his gifts, his stirring eloquence, his deep pathos, his scorn of 
mankind, and his marked severity. He was a compound of flaming 
passion, pure rhetoric, haughty bearing, sarcastic words, and, when 
he chose to be so, was gentle and persuasive in argument. He 
treated the members of the bar generally with civil coldness, and 
kept to himself. lie sought no companionship ; but, if by accident 
he was drawn into conversation, he was decorous and agreeable, 
yet evidently reserved. 

Mr. Taylor was mostly employed in cases sounding in damages, — 
slander, malicious prosecution, and the like. In these he put forth 
his extraordinary powers of declamation. lie was attentive in 
preparing his cases, in securing the necessary proofs, and was 
always master of the business in hand. He had some pretty good 
recoveries. If he could find a rich man — such as the late Lewis 
Bond, Esq., worth half a million — prosecuting some poor individual 
for supposed trespasses on his large stocks of cattle in the wire- 
grass region, Mr. Taylor was then in the only paradise earth 
afforded him. On such occasions he rose to the sublime of ma- 
lignity and abuse. Mr. Bond was in the habit of visiting his stock- 
range every spring and calling on his herdsmen for an account of 
their flocks. Where depredations or ugli/ mistakes had been com- 
mitted, ho generally preferred bills of indictment and turned the 
matter over to the court and jury. Mr. Taylor was frequently 
of counsel for the accused. On such occasions Mr. Bond quietly 
took his seat by the solicitor-general, gave the names of witnesses, 
suggested questions, and — listened to Mr. Taylor. What Burke 
said about Warren Hastings's administration in India was tame and 
complimentary alongside the comments Mr. Taylor made on the 
character and conduct of Mr. Bond. The author remembers one 
case where Mr. Taylor's client not only had a verdict of acquittal, 
but a malicious prosecution taxed. He also remembers that Mr. 
Taylor brought an action for damages against Mr. Bond in Wilkin- 
son Superior Court; but he believes it was never tried. The 
counsel, perhaps, found it inconvenient to attend, or, if he 
attended, was discouraged by public opinion, and the action died 
for want of nursing. This was about the close of Mr. Taylor's 
professional career in Georgia. He thence departed westward. 

Some years ago a very romantic story was circulated in the 
newspapers, in which Mr. Taylor was the leading hero. The 
scene was laid in Arkansas or Texas. It appears that a rich 
planter had insulted the wife of his overseer. She made it known • 



198 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORQIA. 

to her husband, who took the liberty of ^ caning his employer on 
sight. The planter some days afterward shot the overseer, killing 
him instantly. He was prosecuted, but his money saved him from 
conviction. In the mean time he had spoken slanderous words 
concerning the widow, who brought her action for damages. The 
day of trial arrived. Sargeant S. Prentiss and Albert Pike 
appeared of counsel for the defendant. The case was called in its 
order ; and such was the array of influence, the great wealth of 
the defendant, the ability of his lawyers, and the humble condition 
of the plaintiff, that even the young attorney who brought the 
action shrank from it and abandoned his client to her fate. The 
judge sounded the case again : no one responding, he appealed to 
the gallantry of the bar. There was walking in the lobby of the 
court-room a slender, woe-begone-looking personage, with a high 
forehead, pensive features, thin, compressed lips, and wandering 
blue eyes, — ^his visage of sandy complexion. He heard the appeal, 
and, advancing within the bar, modestly informed the court that 
he would represent the plaintiff. All eyes were turned on the 
stranger. No one knew him. 

This was a perplexing moment. The judge remarked that no 
gentleman could be permitted to act as counsel without a com- 
mission to that effect. The stranger drew from his pocket 
divers pieces of parchment bearing signatures and court-seals from 
Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and 
probably from other States, conferring on John Taylor the 
privileges of counsellor and attorney-at-law, and solicitor in 
chancery. His name was then entered on the docket, and, asking 
a short indulgence, he found some one who kindly gavo him the 
names of the witnesses, who answered to the call. He opened the 
case by reading the declaration and proving the words. He said 
but very little more, and gave way to the defence. Prentiss made 
one of his fine speeches, expended his wit freely, and also aimed a 
sneer at the plaintiff's counsel, whom he described as a reckless 
adventurer, unable to live by his profession in any one of the States 
in which he had been incautiousli/ licensed. It was hardly worth 
the labor to trample upon such a pitiful case, supported by counsel 
who was himself an object of pity. 

The learned Pike, with the garlands of poetry on his brow, rose 
to continue the argument of his friend Prentiss. The character 
of the plaintiff was denounced and that of the defendant extolled. 
The obscure attorney who had volunteered came in for a share of 




PAUL COALSON. 199 

his piercing wit and mischievous humor. Here the speaking for 
the defence closed with a flourish of exultation. 

John Taylor stood before the jury. With his clear, piping voice, 
distinct in every syllable, and full of feeling and intellect, he took 
up the evidence, applied the law, and then made himself known. 
He ridiculed the fahe wit and vulgar impudence of the opposing 
counsel, until even the gallant Prentiss and the manly Pike felt 
themselves as children in the hands of a giant. Court, jury, spec- 
tators, bar, all gazed with wonder. Taylor rose higher and higher 
in his flights, until he had the audience spell-bound. He saw his 
advantage, knew his powers, and felt assured that the jury would 
give all the damages claimed in the declaration. He then turned 
to the spectators, who were much excited, and implored them not 
to lay violent hands on the defendant, — not to ride him on a rail. 
They must forbear doing what justice prompted on the occasion. 
Fifty thousand dollars would be some punishment to a creature so 
sordid, and let him live to endure the scorn of all honest men. 
The jury retired, and soon gave in a verdict for ffty thousand 
dollars ! Taylor was immortal. 

The author does not vouch for the correctness of this story ; but, 
from his own knowledge of Mr. Taylor and the inspiration under 
which he often spoke, he is inclined to believe it. This remark- 
able man practised law several years in Southern Georgia. He 
would have electrified even the Senate of the United States ; and 
yet all his gifts were marred by a spirit of misanthropy which 
rendered him miserable, an exile in the midst of society. 

While sketching with a free hand, the author will venture to 
relate a very laughable scene which occurred on the road from 
Franklin (the old county site of Lowndes) to Thomasville, — the like 
of which is not on record. Travel on the circuit, in the days 
referred to, was altogether in sulkies or on horseback. There 
were no buggies in use then. On a bright Sunday morning, as 
half a dozen sulkies and two or three outriders, forming the main 
column of the Southern bar, were proceeding on the march, all the 
wayfarers fresh and cheerful, a large fox-squirrel was seen to 
cross the road and ascend an old pine stump ten or fifteen feet 
high. Here was an opportunity for sport ; and with a simultaneous 
leap from their sulkies came the men of law to chunk the squirrel 
from his retreat, — the horses being left alone, without any fasten- 
ing, in the road. From the discharge of pine-knots at the squir- 
rel, and the hollering to boot, one of the horses got alarmed and 
set off briskly without his driver. All the other horses followed 



200 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

the example ; and such a race of sulkies had never been, and 
never will be again. Away they sped in the open pine-woods. 
Occasionally a wheel would strike a stump or a large root, and 
then there would be a rattling, as if to stimulate the horses to their 
utmost diligence. The race drew gradually to a close, — or, at least, 
the sulkies were smashed and scattered about, some against sap- 
lings, some against large trees, and one was shivered into fragments 
on a log. Here the vehicles retired from the contest. Not so the 
horses. They kept on, seriously terrified, with harness flying in 
all directions. 

While this inovement was in full blast, the gentlemen of the 
law stood their ground. They saw it was a grand ruin, and that 
their only consolation was to be revenged on the squirrel, the 
innocent cause of their misfortune. The attack was renewed more 
fiercely than ever. Pine-knots and a prodigious expenditure of 
lungs on the part of his assailants brought down his squirrelship, 
bleeding and lifeless, at their feet. One of the party gathered up 
the trophy, and they all proceeded to view the race-track. Here one 
would pick up an overcoat, another an umbrella, one a whip ; several 
identified their cushions ; and at decent intervals spokes and segments 
of a wheel, portions of the seat, a loose dashboard, pieces of shaft, 
and other relics^ were strewed along to show the battle-ground. 
Then sulky after sulky — some capsized, others resting with one 
wheel in the air, others so badly crushed that the owners could 
scarcely recognise them — would appear, until the whole number was 
answered. The trunks generally retained their strapping without 
material injury. 

The law-travellers walked to a farm house, where they reported 
their difiSculty, and asked for a wagon and team to take them and 
their baggage to Thomasville, some twenty miles. The request 
was readily granted, and in this conveyance the judge and his 
bar drove up to the hotel after nightfall. Their detention was 
explained amidst roars of laughter, in which our Florida brethren 
joined heartily. In the course of two or three days the horses 
were all brought in, and the remains of the sulkies taken to the 
carriage-shop, where there was a general fixing up, — the harness- 
maker also receiving his full share of patronage. Such was the 
squirrel-frolic of the Southern bar. Nothing of the kind has 
occurred since. At each subsequent riding, the groxmd has con- 
tinued to be pointed out, with divers localities well remembered by 
the participants in the Hport^ though more than twenty years have 





PAUL OOALSON. 201 

intervenes^ ■ The adventure will pass as a tradition sacred to more 
primitive times. 

This digression will be forgiven ; nor will it be considered in- 
applicable in a memoir of this kind. The members of the bar are 
well known for their cordiality with each other on the circuit, 
especially when, in other periods, such as are now touched upon, 
they were together six or eight weeks continuously on a single 
riding. 

From what has already been said of Mr. Coalson, it must appear 
that he was entitled to that warm love of his friends, that respect 
of his fellow-citizens, which it was his good fortune to possess. A 
gentleman'*' very competent to judge states, in a letter to the 
author respecting Mr. Coalson : — 

He possessed in an emioent degree all the attributes of a good man. 
He was modest and unassuming, honest and honorable, candid and con- 
scientious. When an application was made to him to enga^^c his pro« 
fessional services, he never failed to make a close and scrutinizing inquiry 
into the facts and circumstances of the case he was expected to advocate. 
If he found it to be wrong in principle or oppressive to the weak and 
defenceless, he never hesitated at once to refuse his services. If he found 
it to be even of doubtful policy, or uncertain of its successful prosecution, 
he always made a plain and candid exposition before he would undertake 
it. In his intercourse with men, his coiucknce was his guide, and up to 
the time of his death he enjoyed the full confidence of all his friends and 
acquaintances. He was emphatically an honest man. I might relate 
some anecdotes which would more fully exemplify the traits of his cha- 
racter; but your intimate acquaintance with him will enable you to do 
60 better than I can. 

Mr. Coalson was a man of princely heart, and, however zealous 
in the court-house, he never carried outside of it the least unkind 
feeling toward any of his brethren ; nor could they be so unmindful 
as to act coldly toward him for any sparring at the bar. He was 
indeed a delightful companion, and died too soon for his family, 
his friends, and his country. 

The proceedings of the bar on the occasion of his death are 
here subjoined : — 

GSORGIA, Thomas county. — Superior Court, May Term, 1830. 

Wednesday evening, May 5, 1830. — The members of the Southern bar 
convened in Thomasville on the 5th inst., for the purpose of paying a 
suitable tribute of respect to the memory of Paul Coalson, Esq., a 
highly-respected brother of the profession, whose death has been an- 
nounced during the present sitting, when his Honor Thaddeus G. Holt was 
called to the chair, and Thomas Porter, Esq., Solicitor- General, appointed 
secretary. The object of the meeting being stated, it was 

* Gen. Thomas £. Blackshcar. 



202 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

EesohetJ, That a committee of three be appointed to draft a suitable 
preamble and resolutions expressive of the feelio<]^ of the Southern bar 
in relation to the death of Paul Coalson^ Esq. ; whereupon the chairman 
appointed Stephen F. Miller, Lott Warren, and Daniel D. Sturgcs, Esqs., 
as that committee. 

The meeting then adjourned until to-morrow, three o'clock p.m. 

Thursday, 6th May, 1830. The committee attended in open court, 
when Stephen F. Miller, Esq., reported the following preamble and reso- 
lutions, which were unanimously adopted : — 

In the private ranks of society, when a useful and respected member is 
cut off by providential visitation, the regret throughout the circle in which 
he moved is generally proportioned to the good or indifferent qualities 
which marked his life. The occasion of our assembling as a brotherhood 
is to offer respect to the memory of Paul Coalson, Esq., our departed bro- 
ther and fellow-citizen. The eulogy of the dead can be of no other avail 
than to manifest to the living the estimation in which virtue and talents 
are held, to soothe the anguish of surviving friends, and to stimulate the 
youth of our country to the practice of those duties which lead to reputa- 
tion and happiness. 

Trained with early advantages, Mr. Coalson entered the university of 
our State, and, with an ardent thirst for knowledge and by habits of 
severe application, he acquired the elements of a collegiate education to 
an extent which placed him high on the list of finished graduates. Thus 
ending his literary pupilage with credit, he engaged in the legal profes- 
sion and became an industrious and respectable member. But it is not to 
bis professional character alone that we confine our tribute. 

His youth and rural avocation prevented him from pursuing that range 
at the bar which would have brought him more directly before the public 
eye. In the active and social relations of private life he shone with a 
pleasing lustre; and long will be remembered the genuine hospitality and 
unaffected friendship with which he treated his brethren of the bar. The 
ties thus produced by a variety of causes rendered the eternal separation 
painful in the extreme. Yet to the behests of Him who directs all things 
we must submit without a murmur. Therefore, in order to evince our 
regard for the deceased, 

Rtsolvedj That We have learnt with deep regret the death of Paul Coal- 
son, Esq., our respected friend and brother, and that we truly sympathiie 
with his bereaved family and relatives in the great loss they have 
sustained. 

BesolveJ, That the bar of the Southern circuit wear crape on the left 
arm during the present riding, as a testimony of regard for the deceased. 

Rcsolvedy That a copy of these proceedings, signed by the chairman 
and secretary, be forwarded to the family of the deceased, and that the 
secretary forward the same; and that copies be published in the Milledge- 
ville papers, and also a copy, signed by the chairman and secretary, (by 
order of the court,) be entered on the minutes. 

Thomas Porter, Thad. Goode Holt, 

Seer eta ry. CKq imi a n . 

Ordered by the court, that the proceedings be entered on the minutes 
of the court, agreeably to the request of the committee. 

The aforegoing is a true extract from the minutes of said court, this 
November 14, 1851. Jared Everitt, 

CierL 




VIII. 

WALTER T. COLQUITT. 

Evert age and every State usually affords one man more 
remarkably endowed than all others. The American Revolution 
had but one Patrick Henry, and Georgia has never contained^ 
and probably never will possess, more than one Walter T. Col- 
quitt. To render justice to such a character is beyond the ability 
of the author. He has not the particulars ; and, even if he had, he 
questions his own skill in so putting them together as to make a 
good likeness of the original. Written description often fails of 
its object, and perhaps in nothing more signally than in tracing 
the volcanic eruptions (for so they may be styled) of the orator 
now to be considered. 

Walter T. Colquitt was born in Halifax county, Virginia, on 
the 27th day of December, 1799. A few years afterward, his 
father, Henry Colquitt, removed to Hancock county, Georgia, and 
settled near Mount Zion, where Walter was sent to the school of 
Mr. Bcman. His progress was rapid, and his standing in class 
was about the first grade, as it was in all athletic exercises. He 
was running over with vitality, and his sports were as wild as his 
nature was fearless. Not that there was any serious mischief in 
him, — not that he defied his teacher or neglected his studies, — but 
there was an impulse, a restless spirit within him which must have 
vent in some outward manifestation, or the consequences would be 
apparently as fatal to the nervous system as too great a head of 
steam would be to the engine. Action was the safety-valve. This 
was the cast of his mind ; and it was always his rule to follow 
nature, honest nature, in all her moods, however singular and at 
whatever sacrifice, within the bounds of a manly, rational freedom. 
It may be readily supposed that Walter was a captain among his 
schoolfellows, directing their games and their quarrels, always the 
friend of the weak in both. 

On reaching the proper age, he was sent to Princeton, New 

Jersey, to complete his education. Up to this time he had never 

worn a suit of store-chtheSy but was attired, like other country lads, 

in the products of the domestic loom. When he left for Princeton 

208 



204 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

he wore a hat made of rahhit'shins^ no doubt a very durable, if not 
elegant, head-cover, manufactured by some good hatter of the 
neighborhood. How lont]j he remained at collej^e the author is 
unable to saj'. Before graduating he returned home, owing to the 
illness of his father. Whatever may have been his conduct, rash 
or disorderly, it was not such as to class him with the highest 
offenders, nor could it have been prejudicial to his honor, as the 
institution has enrolled him among its alumni. 

lie read law in the office of Col. Samuel Rockwell, of Milledge- 
ville, and was admitted to the bar at Wilkinson Superior Court, m 
1820. He first located in Sparta, where he opened an office, and 
then removed to a village called Cowpens, in Walton county. In 
the mean time he had been elected brigadier-general by the Legis- 
lature when twenty-one years of age. He belonged to the Troup 
party, and was a candidate for Congress in 1826 in a district which 
contained a majority of two thousand Clark voters, as shown by 
the election between Troup and Clark for Governor in 1825. The 
Hon. Wilson Lumpkin was his successful competitor, who was 
elected by a majority of thirty-two votes ! 

The contest gave Gen. Colquitt quite a reputation, and rendered 
him at once prominent. W^hat he lost in political was amply made 
up by judicial advancement ; for, on the 15th December, 1826, at 
the age of twenty-seven years, he was elected Judge of the Chatta- 
hoochee circuit, and presided at the first Superior Court ever held 
in the city of Columbus. His administration was highly approved. 
"Wlienever he had doubts, or there was excessive hardship or 
cruelty in the punishments prescribed by law, he always inclined 
to the side of humanity. A case of the kind is referred to by 
Gov. Forsyth in his message to the Legislature, November 4, 
1828 :— 

Every day's experience adds to our knowledge of the defects of the 
Penal Code. I recall to your attention the communications heretofore 
made by my predecessors, particularly to the Executive message of 1827, 
communicating a report from one of the judges (Schley) of the effects of 
the amendatory act of 1820. To the information contained in that report 
I will add that it is ascertained that the punishment of a free person of 
color, convicted of inveigling a slave, is now one year's imprisonment in 
the Penitentiary, while a white person is subjected to severer penalties, — 
a distinction not justifiable in itself, and dangerous in its consequences to 
the security of property and the peace of the State. Another of our 
judges (Colquitt) during the past year found himself compelled to sen- 
tence a person convicted of the offence of mayhem to the piUory, and the 
payment of a fine of £100, or to suffer, if unable to pay the fine, the bar- 
barous punishment of one hundred lashes laid on his naked back. The 
poverty of the person convicted was so notorious that the payment of the 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 205 

fine was not to be expected, and the Executive, under a recommendation 
of the judge, was obliged to interfere to prevent the infliction of a brutal 
punishment, — ^a disgrace to our criminal jurisprudence, and which, in the 
opinion of the community, has been long since expelled from our code. 
A careful and matured examination of the act of 1820 will enable you to 
correct these and other errors that have unavoidably arisen from the use 
of general terms, and their application to all the previous legislation of the 
State on crimes and punishments. 

In 1829, Judge Colquitt was re-elected for another term of 
three years, at the expiration of which he retired from the bench, 
fully satisfied with its dignities and cares. In 1834 and 1837, he 
represented Muscogee county in the State Senate. His course in 
this body proving him to be a statesman and debater of a high 
order, he was nominated for Congress in 1838, was elected, and 
took his seat in the House of Representatives on the first Monday 
in December, 1839. In the Presidential election of the next year, 
he and two of his colleagues, Messrs. Black and Cooper, refused 
to support Gen. Harrison, and went over to Mr. Van Buren, 
thereby severing the political ties which connected them with their 
colleagues in the House and with the Whig party of Georgia. 
But, however unpleasant the dissension between the parties, the 
people sustained Mr. Colquitt and re-elected him in 1840, and 
again in 1842. His victory was complete, though his new associa- 
tions with men against whom he had warred so long — the Clarkites, 
Union men. Democratic party, and Mr. Van Buren as the head of 
the phalanx — must have embarrassed him at times in the company 
of certain leaders. But he knew well how to conquer diflSculties, 
and he went forward, turning neither to the right nor left, follow- 
ing his principles as soon into the camp of the enemy as anywhere 
else. He dreaded no conflict and quailed at no danger. 

He was now called to a still prouder elevation, — one equal, if not 
superior, in dignity to the Executive of a sovereign State of this 
Union. At the session of the Legislature in 1842, Judge Colquitt 
was elected a Senator in the Congress of the United States for a 
term of six years, commencing on the 4th March, 1843. Here he 
formed the acquaintance of Mr. Calhoun, the great champion of 
the South, whose principles and character he so much admired. 
Mr. Webster was also in the Senate part of the term, and it was 
the privilege of Judge Colquitt to confer with these master-minds 
of the world on the policy best calculated to advance the public 
good, and to sustain or oppose, as a brother Senator, on a footing 
of perfect equality, any measure they might advocate. The talents 
of Judge Colquitt were such as to command respect anywhere ; 



206 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

but candor urges the author to say that the manner of the judge 
in debate was an innovation upon the usages of the Senate, and 
was at times deficient in tone and self-respect which had generally 
distinguished that august body. Special reference is here made 
to the notice taken by Judge Colquitt of an attack made upon him 
in the columns of the Madisonian^ the editor of which paper 
accused him and other Senators of dining with the British minister, 
and then receding from the claim of 54° 40', for which he had pre- 
viously stood by President Polk as being " clear and indisputable." 

"When criticisms have been made, by editors or correspondents 
of newspapers, unjust to members of Congress, or placing them in 
a false position, they often bring the subject before the House to 
, which they belong, read the exceptionable matter, and then com- 
ment upon it as the case may require, usually in a calm, explana- 
tory style, with no passion or bitterness, certainly with no epithets. 
But Judge Colquitt departed from this rule. He became excited, 
and denounced the editor of the 3Iadi8onian in terms so gross, so 
novel in the Senate, that he let himself down while he broke up the 
MadUonian, It changed hands immediately, and, after struggling 
a short time from its death-wound, it ceased altogether to be pub- 
lished. The revenge was terrible ; but, like an overcharged gun, 
it injured in both directions. 

While Judge Colquitt was in the Senate of the United States, 
our controversy with Great Britain relative to Oregon elicited 
very earnest discussion, and at one time seemed likely to produce 
war between the two countries. Within the same period of ser- 
vice, from 1843 to 1849, the whole Mexican War had transpired, 
from the murder of Col. Thornton and his comrades on the Rio 
Grande to the Treaty of Guadaloupe. Those who knew the tem- 
perament of Judge Colquitt, his burning patriotism and restless 
courage, impatient of delay, can well imagine his feelings when 
battle after battle, victory after victory, was borne by the electric 
messenger to the capital of the Union. The opening cannonade 
at Palo Alto, the rout of the enemy at Resaca de la Palma, the 
glories of Monterey and Buena Vista, with Taylob leading the 
embattled host, — the splendid siege and entire capture of Vera 
Cruz, the bloody heights of Cerro Gordo, the onward march of 
our conquering army to Chapultepec, Churubusco, and Molino 
del Rey, a*nd the triumphant entry of Scott into the city of 
Mexico, into the very "Halls of the Montezumas" of fabled 
grandeur, — all quickened the pulse and sent joy to every bosom 
within our extended borders. He was a warm supporter of 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 207 

the administration throughout the conflict, gave the President all 
the aid in his power, and advocated the measures necessary to 
prosecute the war vigorously. To such men as Judge Colquitt, 
sagacious and daring, are the people indebted for that proud rank 
which our Government occupies among the nations of the earth, — 
grand in peace and mighty in war. 

The author regrets that he has none of the speeches delivered in 
Congress by the bold Georgia Senator from which to give extracts. 
Fortunately, it is not essential to his fame. He possessed a kind 
of oratory — an eloquence of the blood — not to be written. It would 
be useless to attempt a description. In the Presidential campaigns 
of 1840, 1844, 1848, and 1852, he took the field and mounted his 
war-horse for the Democratic nominees, often at a great distance 
from home, on special invitation. It made no difference how many 
speakers of note were assembled on the platform at a mass conven- 
tion, whether from other States or from Georgia, whether ex- 
governors or ex-members of the Cabinet, he towered above them 
all in energy of declamation and in power to sway the multitude. 
He had an eye that could look any man or any peril in the face, 
as the eagle is said to gaze upon the sun, without blanching. 

Judge Colquitt imitated no model. He possessed strong sympa- 
thies, was a close observer of men and things, knew the prejudices, 
habits, and prevailing opinions of the people in all conditions of 
life. These were the arrangements of Heaven, and it was not his 
office to substitute an artificial system which might perhaps secure 
him the reputation of being a very precise, elegant gentleman, but 
which would unquestionably place him beyond the companionship 
which he desired with his fellow-men, — with all, — those in broad- 
cloth and those in homespun, — all upon an equality in his affec- 
tions, all children of a common Father, travelling the same road to 
eternity ! The accidents of fortune, a white house, a showy equi- 
page, rich apparel, or any other allurements of wealth, had no 
influence upon him. He grasped the hand of a poor man as cor- 
dially, and treated him with as much respect, as he would the 
richest in the land. If his attentions to either varied, it was only 
to show more kindness to the humble^ to ward off any appearance 
of neglect. With such principles and feelings he squared his con- 
duct through life. 

As an advocate, he stood alone in Georgia, perhaps in the whole 
South. No man could equal him in vigor and brilliancy where the 
passions of the jury had to be led. In criminal cases, where life 
or liberty was at stake, he swept every thing before him. No 



208 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

heart could resist his appeals, no eye could withhold its tears, on 
such occasions. He has been known to get upon his knees and 
implore jurors by name to save the husband, the father, the son, — 
not to break anxious hearts at home, nor stamp disgrace upon 
innocent kindred. At other times he would go up to certain mem- 
bers of the jury and address them, "My Baptist brother," "My 
Methodist brother," "My young brother," "My venerable bro- 
ther," — applying suitable expressions to each one as the facts 
might authorize, — and, with a look and prayer to Heaven which 
impressed the greatest awe, would stir the soul to its very depths. 
Many examples of the kind might be given, as the author has been 
informed by eye-witnesses : he never heard Judge Colquitt make a 
speech in court, but has heard him in other places. It is said that 
he rarely failed to obtain verdicts in favor of his clients when the 
occasion called forth his energies. His delivery, gesticulation, 
pathos, ridicule, scorn, mimicry, the tones of his voice, his anec- 
dotes, the motion of his features, every thing about him, — all acted 
a part, all assisted in the incantation. A wizard could not have 
been more potent in exercising his charms. In all this exhibition 
there was much to offend particular schools of acting ; but it was 
nothing more than "holding the mirror up to nature," — ^nature in 
a tempest. 

Nor was Judge Colquitt at a loss for other methods. He could 
be gentle as a zephyr when it suited his purpose, when he had pic- 
tures of bereavement and sorrow to press home to the jury. Then 
the sweet, plaintive tones of his voice, the melting sadness of the 
heart, and the glistening pearl-drops from the eye would dissolve 
all opposition. He would take a poor, fainting mortal in his arms, 
and softly as an angel he would lay him down to repose amid the 
flowers of Eden. 

The career of Judge Colquitt would be most inadequately 
sketched were the part he took on the Southern Bights question in 
1850 and 1851 entirely omitted. It is known that with the 
acquisition of territory from Mexico there arose in Congress a 
very delicate issue between the North and South as to free 
soil, or the application of the Wilmot Proviso to all the country 
thus obtained. The South contended for equal rights, — ^for the 
privilege of carrying and holding there such property as the Con- 
stitution recognised in the State from which the owners might 
remove. This was the simple proposition. Most of the Represen- 
tatives in Congress from the non-slavcholding States objected to 
it, and the contest became sectional, — the very existence of South- 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 209 

em mstitutions depending on the result. Judge Colquitt came 
out promptly and denounced the injustice of covering a foot of the 
territory by the Wilmot Proviso, but, for the purpose of concilia- 
tion, expressed his willingness to extend the Missouri-Compromise 
line 36^ 30' to the Pacific, and there let the matter rest. He 
addressed his fellow-citizens publicly by speech and pen, using all 
his influence, every argument of which he was capable, to stimulate 
them to action proper for the emergency. He was for marching 
up to 36^ 30' with fixed bayonets, prepared to hold it and prepared 
to be buried. 

His speeches in the Nashville Convention, where he was sus- 
tained by Judge Cheves,"' of South Carolina, and other eminent 
men in that body, were of the most resolute character. Accounts 
were published by letter-writers for the Northern press, and Judge 
Colquitt was spoken of in about equal terms of censure and praise. 
His manner was described as being most furious in that assem- 
blage of Southern patriots. He and Gov. McDonald were chosen 
by the Legislature as delegates to represent the State at large. 
The Congressional districts each had two delegates, one from the 
State-Bights and the other of the Union party, elected by the 
people. Nothing need be said of the Nashville Convention other 
than that its proceedings, like the Virginia and Kentucky Resolu- 
tions of 1798, have given rise to various conflicting interpretations. 
The following are three of the resolutions, embodying the most 
material part of those passed in November, 1850, at the second 
session of the Nashville Convention, after the Compromise mea- 
sures had been adopted by Congress : — 

Resolved, That all the evils anticipated by the South, and which occa- 
siooed this Convention to assemble, have been realized by the failure to 
extend the Missouri line of compromise to the Pacific Ocean, by the admis- 
sion of California as a State, by the organization of Territorial Govcmmenta 
for Utah and New Mexico without giving adequate protection to the 
property of the South, by the dismemberment of Texas, by the aboli- 
tion of the slave-trade and the emancipation of slaves carried into the 
District of Columbia for sale. 

Resolved, That we earnestly recommend to all parties in the slave- 
holding States to refuse to go mto, or countenance, any National Conven- 
tion whose objects may be to nominate candidates for the Presidency and 
Vice-Presidency of the United States, under any party denomination 
whatever, until our Constitutional rights are secured. 

Resolved, That in view of these aggressions, and of those threatened 
and impending, we earnestly recommend to the slave-holding States to 
meet in congress or convention, to be held at such time or place as the 

* Hon. Langdon Cheves died Jane 26, 1867, aged eighty-one years. 
Vol. I — 14 



210 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

States desiring to be represented may designate, to be composed of doable 
tbe number of their Senators and Representatives in Congress of the 
United States, intrusted with full power and authority to deliberate and 
act with the view and intention of arresting further aggression, and, if 
possible, of restoring the Constitutional rights of the South, and, if not, 
to provide for their future safety and independence. 

As a politician and advocate, enough has been said to give some 
idea of Judge Colquitt. It now remains to follow him into another 
sphere, — as a man and a Christian. How early in life he connected 
himself with the Methodist Episcopal Church the author is not 
informed ; but he remembers to have heard him deliver an exhorta- 
tion thirty years ago (1827) at Milledgeville, in a church where sat 
with him in the pulpit the late Rev. Stephen Olin and Rev. Samuel 
K. Hodges, — the latter then the presiding elder. Judge Colquitt 
had a very youthful appearance. His cheeks were rosy, and his 
countenance was lighted up by the sacred fires within. After Mr. 
Hodges had closed a very solemn discourse, while the congregation 
was silent and serious, he rose, and sung, in beautiful style and 
with much feeling, — 

'* Young people all, attention give, 

While I address you in God's name: 
You who in sin and folly lire, 

Comei hear the counsels of a friend." 

Nothing could have produced a happier effect. Many persons 
wept as the song proceeded ; and when it was over ho made an 
appeal to the young to forsake their evil w^ays, — to give up the 
phantoms of pleasure and yield their hearts to God. It was a 
time long to be remembered. Hodges, Olin, Colquitt, and more 
than half that large congregation, are in the grave ! He who was 
then a youth weeping under the exhortation is now quite an old 
man, shedding a tear as he records the incident in the biography 
of the exhorter. 

The author never attended any of the courts at which Judge 
Colquitt presided, and can only state the fact on reliable informa- 
tion, that he was in the habit of opening his courts with prayer, 
himself oflSciating. Whether he continued the practice through 
both his terms cannot be here affirmed or denied. That he was 
truly pious, and aimed to do good, there is no question. But 
many of his religious friends were sorely grieved to witness the 
levity and relish for fun and anecdote which the judge indulged 
at the hotel and other places when not engaged at prayer or in his 
official administration. Indeed, his hilarity was so boisterous, his 
stories so broad and related with such enjoyment, that a stranger 
would never have suspected that he belonged to the church. On 



% 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 211 

these jovial occasions he has been known to look at his watch and 
start up suddenly, apologizing to his companions, as he had to 
preach, and the people were waiting for him ! While in the State 
Senate, he has been known to make a strong speech on some bill, 
then go to the church and deliver an animated sermon, then 
attend a political caucus and make the principal speech there, rally- 
ing his forces, and then conclude the night by inviting a number 
of his friends to an oyster-saloon for refreshments. In all this, 
while nothing positively wicked can be perceived, there was seem- 
ing impropriety in the opinion of many of his brethren. It was 
a sort of stumbling-block which gave room for unfriendly remarks. 
Yet, if an error, it lacked the intention to make it criminal. 

Soon after announcing the plan of his work, the author applied 
to the Rev. Lovick Pierce, a minister of close observation as well 
as of established ability and influence, for names belonging to the 
church and the bar that might assist in removing the reproach so 
generally cast on the legal profession that from its very nature it 
was hostile to Christianity. In the reply, the name of Judge Col- 
quitt, then living, occurs in a manner which will be sufficient to 
introduce the letter here, even if other names in it did not show 
the justice and propriety of doing so : — 

Columbus, Janaary 28, 1851. 

Dear Sir: — Your letter and circular are received. I cannot call to 
mind any deceased lawyers whose connection with the church, and piety, 
would add any thing to your praiseworthy work, but the lamented Few, 
with Cicero Holt and Clayton of Athens. Clayton I did not know bs a 
Christian, only from others. His conversion, life, and death added as 
much lustre to his Christian t^haracter as his tongue and pen did to his 
professional. 

Cicero Holt was a Christian of the highest and purest character, suf- 
ficient of himself to disprove the idea that irreligion is a sort of consti- 
tutional quality of the legal calling. At this time there are many lawyers 
open and avowed Christians. Even here are half a dozen, members of 
our church, — none of them, except Colquitt, known afar off. 

Judge Longstreet can give you more reliable information than any one 
who would feel a lively interest in your enterprise. He is President of 
the Mississippi University. It is located at Oxford : the county I don't 
know. I think the following direction would find him : A. B. Longstreet, 
President of the Mississippi University, Oxford.* 

* On this hint, the aathor paid his respects more than once to Judge Longstreet, 
desiring contributions to interest the public in these pages. It wiU be seen, by 
other letters published, that Judge Longstreet is looked to for much that is curious, 
— as the only writer who can dress up things to perfection. The author shared 
this belief, and only regrets that Judge L. has been so occupied by his official 
daties, or so disinclined to put people in a good humor, as used to be his Tocation 
when writing ** Georgia Scenes" twenty years ago, that the author has to go to 
press without a solitary line Arom his graphic pen. 



212 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

I am not able to render jou the aid you need : if I could, I would 
gladly do it. Respectfully, yours, 

L. Pierce. 

But it is not necessary to dwell on the virtues or defects of 
Judge Colquitt. He was not always understood by the world. A 
natural buoyancy of feeling sometimes led him into extremes 

He had to be cheerful : his organization would not permit him to 
be otherwise. There was no stagnation in the currents of his soul. 
They flowed on through all temperatures. Happen what might to 
depress others, no frost ever locked up the tide of his upward, 
joyous nature. His spirit could scale the loftiest mountains, sport 
with the clouds, and then descend in a thunderbolt to terrify the 
evil-doer, or in the form of mercy to soothe the unfortunate and 
the miserable. 

Such a man, however, has no guarantee of life more than the 
veriest trifler. The lion-hearted is often the mark of Death's 
arrow, while the hare in society seems to escape for a longer pro- 
bation. The decree is thus written ; and it is right, however mys- 
terious to finite conceptions. 

Judge Colquitt endured sharp bodily afflictions in the latter 
years of his life. His friends were long in painful suspense, at 
times believing that his recovery was possible, and then giving 
up in despair. All the time he submitted like a child to his 
heavenly Father, and patiently awaited the issue. Having 
obtained partial relief from the waters at Montvale, East Ten- 
nessee, on a former visit, he sought their efficacy once more. 
Emaciated as he was, he had himself borne to the cars at Colum- 
bus, to reach Knoxville by railroad, within twenty miles of the 
springs. At Macon he grew w^orse ; and tidings forthwith came, on 
the telegraph-wires and in the public prints, that he was in a dying 
condition. Friends — pious friends — ^gathered at his bedside. His 
talk was of heaven. Those dark, beaming eyes, which had so 
often irradiated the sanctuary and the forum, are now turned with 
seraphic mildness upon wife and children in the last hour. With 
words of consolation to all, and with the light of eternity playing 
upon his features, Walter T. Colquitt calmly returned his soul 
to God who gave it. He died at the house of his brother-in-law, 
William A. Ross, in the city of Macon, May 7, 1856, in the fifty- 
sixth year of his age. 

The mournful intelligence, though looked for, filled all hearts 
with sorrow. A great man had fallen. The newspapers did justice 
to his character : many of them contained a brief memoir of his 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 218 

life. A void was felt which can never be supplied. He was a 
gallant and favorite son of Georgia, — a second Calhoun to the 
South. If he had blemishes, they were scarcely visible in the 
noonday brightness of his active and useful career. 

Of his domestic relations the following has been gathered. His 
first marriage was on the 23d day of February, 1823, to Miss 
Nancy H. Lane, daughter of Joseph Lane, Esq., who was many 
years a Representative in the Legislature from Newton county. 
From this union were six children, of whom four are living. The 
Hon. Alfred H. Colquitt, of Baker county, late Representative in 
Congress, and Peyton H. Colquitt, Esq., attorney-at-law, of 
Columbus, are two of them. One of his daughters married the 
Hon. 0. B. Ficklin, of Illinois, at the time a Representative in 
Congress from that State, and the other daughter, Emily, married 
Samuel Carter, son of Col. Farish Carter. Gen. Joseph Lane, the 
delegate in Congress from Oregon, is a near relative of the first 
Mrs. Colquitt. 

The second marriage of Judge Colquitt was in 1841, with Mrs. 
Alphia B. Fauntleroy, formerly Miss Todd, sister of H. W. 
Todd, Esq., of West Point, Georgia. She lived only a few 
months. 

He was married the last time, in 1842, to Miss Harriet W. Ross, 
daughter of the late Luke Ross, Esq., of Macon, and sister to 
J. B. and W. A. Ross, merchants of that city. Six children were 
bom of this marriage, — four now living. 

The mother of Judge Colquitt, Mrs. Nancy S. Tarver, resides 
at La Grange, in her seventy-seventh year. After the death of 
her first husband, she married the father of the late Gen. Hartwell 
H. Tarver, of Twiggs county. 

Before closing this memoir, the author makes free to extract 
from a letter written by a gentleman* to a son of Judge Colquitt, 
imder date of January 19, 1857 : — 

I know nothing specially in regard to your father but what everybody 
else well knowsy for he had no concealments in him. No man, either 
friend or foe, can say aught against him. I was his associate almost from 
infancy. He was '^ a heul and shoulder*' above all boys, as he was above 
all men ; for I have seen him tried in all capacities and situations, in none 
of which did he ever falter. I could cite many incidents and character- 
istics of him known only to myself, all of which would redound to his 
credit and fame. His faults were few : if he had any, I never knew 
them. He was admitted to the bar at Irwinton, Wilkinson county, I think, 

* Alfred B. Holt, Esq. to P. II. Colquitt, to assist in the particulars of this 
memoir. 



214 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBGU. 

in 1820 or '21. He commenced the practice of law in Sparta, bul 
shortly after removed to the Cowpens, in Walton oountj, and in the 
Western circuit soon took a prominent stand among such men as Cicero 
Holty Charles Dougherty^ and others with whom he was associated. 

This decided testimony from one who knew him well is indeed 
honorable to the character of Judge Colquitt. It goes far to 
justify the compliment from Gen. Cass, the present Secretary of 
State, who once remarked that " Georgia had cause to be proud 
of her Representatives, as two of the readiest debaters he ever 
heard were from that State, — Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Colquitt." 
Mr. Calhoun frequently said of him that he was a very " sagaciout 
man.*' 

Though intended as private, there is nothing to forbid giving a 
passage from another letter* relative to Judge Colquitt : — 

My father during his life seemed to shun every thing like posthumous 
fame. He was often applied to, and as frequently denied having his life 
published. He seemed to feel that if his services to his State and his 
country were worth any thing they would be remembered. He cared 
little for praise, so he knew he was right and advocated the truth. He 
marked out for himself a course of policy, and did not pander to popular 
feeling. He had no care whether he was in the minonty or majority, so 
he felt that he was right. If I knew any thing of his character, the most 
prominent traits were unselfishness, kindness, and strong /ri«it(/sAip, — ^im- 
petuous, quick, fiery. His attachment to a friend would lead him to face 
any danger. 

To show that the views taken of the character of Judge Colquitt 
and the praise bestowed in the progress of this memoir are fully 
supported in the highest quarter, the very head of the Judiciary in 
our State, the proceedings of the Supreme Court on the occasion 
of his death are subjoined : — 

Supreme Court of Georqia, Americus, July 10, 1855. 

The Honorable the Supreme Court met pursuant to adjournment. 
Present their Honors Joseph H. Lumpkin, Ebenezer Starnes, and 
Henry L. Bennino, Judges. 

l^e death of the Honorable Walter T. Colquitt, a member of this 
bar, was announced this morning by the Hon. G. E. Thomas, who moved 
the appointment of a committee to prepare and report resolutions in rela- 
tion thereto, which was seconded by Col. Seaborn Jones. 

Whereupon the court moved as a committee the following gentlemen, — 
viz. : Hon. G. E. Thomas, Col. Seaborn Jones, William Dougherty, B. 
Hill, B. H. Hill, G. M. Dudley, and T. R. R. Cobb, Esqiures. 

The committee to whom was referred the duty of reporting to the 
court a suitable preamble and resolutions in commemoration of the life 



* From P. H. Colquitt to the author, dated March 28, 1857. 



\ 



WALTER T. COLQUITT, 215 

and character of the Honorahle Walter T. Colquitt, whom death has 
not long since removed from our midst, respectfully report : — 

That our much-heloved and sincerely-lamented hrother, the Honorahle 
Walter T. Colquitt, was one of the peculiar men of the age. He was 
strongly and distinctly marked in character, and eminently qualified to 
leave his impress on the theatre of life. His indomitable will and great 
moral couraee placed him on high ground in all great emergencies. 

But, alas! ^^ Death enters, and there is no defence." Neither genius, 
nor talent, nor moral worth, nor beauty, can escape the inevitable doom. 
<' Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return." Death is said to love a 
shining mark. A mighty man has fallen ! After a severe and protracted 
conflict, which he bore with Christian fortitude and meekness, he yielded 
up his life to Him who gave, and whose sovereign right it was to take it 
away. 

The event, though not unexpected, was nevertheless painful. Who 
that knew him did not love him ? Who that loved does not lament his 
departure ? His seat here is become vacant ) his voice is hushed, and that 
forever, — called away in the noon of his manhood, in the midst of his 
usefulness. What a chasm is made, — not only in the court, but also in 
the family circle and in the public councils ! 

Of his social qualities how shall we speak ? Of a warm and generous 
disposition, his heart leaped at once into every enterprise of benevolence, 
his charity embraced all conditions of want and wretchedness. 

Of his intellectual endowments we do not exaggerate when we say that 
be possessed a strong, vigorous, discriminating mind, — an intellect which 
had lightning speed and power. In the court-room or in the Senate- 
Chamber he was alike the fearless and able advocate, the firm and un- 
yielding patriot. Always the sanle great original, he was, as occasion 
required, pectdiar, striking, overwhelming. His eloquence sometimes 
resembled " the music," sometimes " the thunder, of the spheres." 

As 2k jury advocate, in the defence of life and liberty he had few equals 
and no superior. More than all, he was a Christian, — ^a sinner saved by 
grace. And if he ever wandered from the straight and narrow path, (and 
who has not ?) none repented more sincerely, none made restitution sooner, 
than he. Religion bore his fainting spirits up when all earthly props 
gave way. This sustained, this never failed him. 

** Our life's a dream, a morning flower, 
Cut down and withered in an hour." 

But this amaranthine flower blooms the brighter as the hand of death 

approaches, and sheds a sweet perfume around the cold precincts of the 

" noisome tomb." — " The chamber where the good man meets his fate 

is privileged beyond the common walks of life, quite on the verge of 

heaven." He died, " being full of the Holy Ghost," and left the world 

in triumph. 

*' There is a life above, 
And all that life is love^ 

This mournful Providence speaks to us, his surviving brethren, in a 
language not to be misunderstood: — "Be ye also ready." Let not the 
lesson be lost ; but, giving hoed, let us love and adore, knowing that our 
heavenly Father does all things for the best. 

1. Resolved, That, while we sincerely sympathize with the bereaved^ we 



216 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

will clierish in our hearts tlie memory and the yirtnes of our deceased 
brother. 

2. Resolved, That, as a perpetual record of our love and admiration of 
him, we respectfully ask of this honorable court the privilege of having 
this preamble and these resolutions spread on the minutes of this court. 

8. Resolved, That a copy of the same be made out and signed by the 
clerk of this court, and be by him forwarded to the family of the deceased. 
Also, a copy for publication, to the papers in Columbus and Macon. 

remarks of the hon. judge lumpkin. 

Mr. Chairman, and Gentlemen of the Committee and Bar : — 
The court cordially responds to the very feeling and eloquent tribute 
which you have paid to the memory of our deceased brother and friend. 

No man that has lived within this State for the last thirty years has 
left or will leave a stronger impress upon the public mind than Walter 
T. Colquitt. Who has touched the community at so many points? 
Who has exhibited the same versatility of talents ? Who is a more striking 
type and exponent of the practical working of republican institutions : 
Emerging from comparative poverty and obscurity, he stepped at once 
from the bar to the bench, and, by the energy of his mind and character, 
filled in rapid succession a seat both in the House of Representatives and 
Senate of the United States. 

As a popular orator and advocate, especially in crimincd cases, the 
deceased was unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries ; and, whatever 
may have been the extravagance, if you please, of his style and manner, 
it rarely failed of success and to elicit the enthusiastic applause of his 
auditory ; and this is the highest compliment that can be paid to a public 
speaker, albeit he may violate every rule of rhetoric taught in the schools. 
His imitators on the hustings, at the bar, and even in the pulpit, are 
legion. 

But I will not dwell at this time on the peculiarities of the deceased. 
No man had more friends, or friends more devotedly attached to him. 
And this was natural as well as right; for a more unselfish man, in all the 
private relations of life and intercourse with society, never lived. We 
love them who love us, is the law that binds man to man, as well as man 
to his Maker. It was but a short time before his death that I was con- 
versing with a female member of his family, — a lovely woman that pre- 
ceded him to the grave ; and she related how, in a recent travel with her 
father-in-law, when he could scarcely sit up, he seemed to forget himself 
entirely and think only of her comfort. Is it strange that such a man 
should be endeared to his friends ? 

You have spoken, Mr. Chairman, of the moral courage of the deceased. 
But an equal tower of strength was his physical firmness. He never 
feared the face of man. We have many among us who are brave from 
pride, or principle, or education. His was innate. It was the courage of 
Nelson and Ney and Zachary Taylor, — that was wholly unconscious of the 
presence of danger. I spei^ what I know. Such a man could not fail to 
be a magnanimous foe. 

But our friend and brother so instinct with life has passed away in the 
meridian of his manhood. That pulse that beat so active has ceased to 
throb ; that brain that teemed with ten thousand plans and purposes will 
think no more. 



WALTER T. COLQUITT. 217 

If ever man was endowed with antediluvian constitution — born to live 
a thousand years — Judp^o Colquitt was. But he was as prodigal of his 
health as he was of his purse. He knew no rest. No sooner did the 
bngle sound for political or professional warfare than every nerve was 
strained to the utmost tension for the fight. He rushed into battle with 
every power of soul, mind, and body, and would take no repose until the 
conflict was ended. 

We saw him at this place — after one of the most exhausting efforts ever 
made, and when his mortal malady, which had fixed its iron grasp upon 
him several years previously, was preying upon him — borne to the stage- 
ooach by his friends, — hurry away to a neighboring State to renew the 
struggles upon another theatre. We cannot but reproach one so munifi- 
cently endowed by nature, and whose life was so important to his family 
and his country, for thus throwing it away as a useless thing. 

Let us take warning by his example and be not overworked. We press 
toward the mark for the prize, and perish on Pisgah in view of Canaan 
and its clusters. He seemed to live but to die. We trust he died but to 
live /or evermore. 

But I am done. Should my life be spared and I can steal the time 
from the severe exactions of my official duties, I will endeavor to erect a 
more abiding monument and one more worthy of the deceased. With me 
it will be a labor of love. We were college-mates in a distant State, at a 
period of life when friendships the most pure and lasting are formed. 
When I reached Princeton I found my young countryman in difficulty, 
and was able, fortunately, to assist him. I found myself in a greater 
trouble afterward, when he repaid the obligation with usury. 

I can readily forgive and forget an injury, — a favor, never. The 
memoir of Walter T. Colquitt will bo pleasant to mc until my own 
hearty like his, shall cease to beat. 



IX. 

WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 

The proudest name that Georgia has ever presented to the 
world, one beyond all competition in renown, strength, and influ- 
ence, is that of William H. Crawford, of whom much has been 
published. Something additional will be given in this sketch 
toward showing his true character. 

He was born in Amherst county, Virginia, February 24, 1772, 
of Scottish ancestry. His father removed from the Old Dominion 
in 1779, and settled in Edgefield district, South Carolina, whence 
he came to Columbia county in 1783, and died a few years after- 
ward. William H. Crawford was then of an age to assist his 
mother by school-teaching, a business which he followed several 
years. Desiring a knowledge of the classics, he became a student 
in the academy of Dr. Moses Waddel, who soon offered him the 
post of assistant. Remaining two years with Dr. Waddel, he then 
joined Mr. Charles Tait (whose name will figure conspicuously in 
this memoir) in the management of the Richmond Academy, of 
which Mr. Crawford became rector. 

Here the author quotes the language of a gentleman* whose 
recollections have been given to the public : — 

William II. Crawford came to the bar in 1799. It was soon obvious 
that his talents and energy would make him the leading lawyer of the up- 
country. The land-speculators applied to him to be associated with them 
in their land-suits. His frankness and high integrity prompted an indig- 
nant refusal. The lawyer-speculators determined to get rid of him by 
shooting him or disgracing bim. Van Allen, then lately from New 
York, was the instrument chosen to effect their object. He was a cousin 
of Martin Van Buren, the great political magician, and, like him, regarded 
means only for their ends. Van Allen, upon some frivolous pretence, 
challenged Mr. Crawford. He had to fight or fly. He chose the first. 
Van Alien was killed. 

Mr. Crawford settled in Lexington in 1799, and opened 
a law-ofiice. He soon stood at the head of his profession. 
He represented Oglethorpe county four years in the Legisla- 
ture. The author has seen the House Journal for the extra 

* Gov. Gilmer, in his Address before the Society of Alumni, at Athens, 1851, p. 20, 
218 



WILLIAM H. CBAWFORD. 219 

session, June, 1806, and thinks proper to extract from its pro- 
ceedings : — 

P. 7. On motion of Mr. Crawford, — 

Besohedy That a committee be appointed to prepare and report a bill to 
be entitled an act to organize the counties of Baldwin and Wilkinson. 
Ordered, That Messrs. Crawford, Walker, and Howell be that committee. 

OLIVER H. PRINCE. 

p. 6. Mr. Bates presented a petition from Oliver H. Prince, praying 
to be admitted to plead and practise in the several courts of law and 
equity in this State, if upon examination he should be found duly 
qualified. 

Which was referred to a committee consisting of Messrs. Poythress^ 
Welscber and Drane. 

P. 13. Resolved f That Oliver Hillhouse Prince be admitted to plead 
and practise as an attorney in the several courts of this State : Prooided, 
the said Oliver H. Prince shall first submit to an examination, and be 
found on such examination duly qualified. 

P. 21. The Senate concurred in said resolution. 

DEATH OF QOVERNOR JACKSON. 

P. 22. On motion of Mr. Welscher, — 

Resolved J That this Legislature view with deep concern and regret the 
loss sustained by the State in the death of that truly great and virtuous 
patriot, Gen. James Jackson, their late Senator in Congress, whose emi- 
nent services will be ever held in grateful remembrance by the people of 
Georgia ; and that, as a public testimony of their sorrow on the occasion, 
and of their high respect for hb memory, the Legislature will wear crape 
on the left arm for the space of thirty days. 

P. 28. Ordered J That the clerk inform the Senate that the House is 
now ready to receive them in the Eeprescntative-Chamber for the purpose 
of electing a major-general for the first division of the militia in this State, 
and a Senator to the Congress of the United States, to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the death of the Hon. Maj. Gen. James Jackson, 

Whereupon the president and members of the Senate attended, and, 
being seated in the Representative-Chamber, both branches proceeded by 
joint ballot to fill the said vacancies ; and, on the ballots being received 
and examined, it appeared that Brigadier-General David B. Mitchell was 
duly elected major-general ; and that his Excellency, John Milledge, was 
duly elected Senator. 

CHARQES AGAINST JUDGE TAIT. 

P. 8. Mr. Simons presented a memorial from General John Clark, con- 
taining certain charges against the Honorable Charles Tait, Judge of the 
Superior Courts in the Western district of this State, which was read and 
referred to a select committee, consisting of Messrs. Simms, Simons, F. 
Walker, Hall, Harris, Welscher, and Thomas. 

P. 11. On motion of Mr. F. Walker,— 

Resolved, That the committee to whom was referred the memorial of 
Gen. John Clark, relative to the conduct of the Honorable Charles Tait, 



220 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

be, and they are hereby, authorized to send for such persons and papen 
as they may deem necessary to facilitate their deliberations on tluit im- 
portant subject. 

P. 14. Mr. Simms, from the committee to whom was referred the me- 
morial of Gren. John Clark, reported as follows : — 

The committee to whom was referred the memorial of Gen. John Clark 
report, that they have made some pn)gress in their inquiries into the 
official conduct of the Honorable Charles Tait; that they view the subject 
as one of great importance to the community as well as the party accusiDg 
and accused ; that, to establish the charges contained in the memorial, it 
is stated to the committee that it will be necessary to subpoena twenty 
witnesses who reside in different parts of this State, and some of them in 
the extreme parts thereof; and to have the benefit of their testimony will 
require considerable time, and perhaps protract this session to a length 
not contemplated by the Legislature. They therefore beg leave to suggest 
the propriety of postponing the further consideration of this important 
business until the next session of the Legislature. 

Whereupon Mr. F. Walker moved the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That the further inquiry into the conduct of the Honorable 
Charles Tait be postponed accordingly. 

On the question put, it was negatived, — Yeas, 26 ; Nays, 26. 

The speaker (Abraham Jackson) gave the casting vote. 

Mr. Crawford voted in the negative. 

P. 25. On motion of Mr. F. Walker,— 

Resolvedy That the Speaker of this House be, and he is hereby, required 
to issue subpoenas for William Melton, Daniel Jett, Young Oresham, 
Frederick Colham, and Josiah Glass, of Greene county ; Felix H. Gilbert, 
Gilbert Hay, Wylie Pope, and Benjamin Taliaferro, of Wilkes counfy; 
Edward Bryan, John Stokes, George McKigney, David Glenn, Mrs. James 
Martin, Sampson Culpepper, and John Howard, of Washington coun^^; 
Buckner Harris, of Jackson county ; Samuel Stewart and John Stewart, 
of Oglethorpe county ; Leroy Pope, of Elbert county ; Oliver Skinner, of 
Hancock county; Elijah Payne, of Tatnall county; and John M. Dooly, 
of Lincoln county; together with such other witnesses as General John 
Clark, the prosecutor, may deem necessary for the prosecution of the 
inquiry into the official conduct of the Hon. Charles Tait ; as also sub- 
poenas for such witnesses as the judge may deem necessary for his excul- 
pation ; and that said subpoenas be made returnable on the first Monday 
in November next. 

From the House Journal y November, 1806, p. 21. — Mr. Simons pre- 
sented a letter directed to the Speaker (Benjamin Whitaker) from Major- 
General John Clark, requesting to be admitted to interrogate the wit- 
nesses before the committee appointed to investigate the official conduct 
of the Hon. Charles Tait ; which being read, and debate had thereon, Mr. 
Morell moved that Gen. John Clark have leave to withdraw his letter 
addressed to the Speaker; and, on the question put thereon, it was 
resolved in the affirmative, — Yeas, 57 ; Nays, 3, — Mr. Crawford voting in 
the affirmative. 

P. 23. On motion of Mr. Welscher, — 

Resolved, That the committee on the memorial of Gen. Clark be 
authorized to cause subpoenas to be served on such witnesses as may be 



WILLIAM n. CBAWFORD. 221 

• 

required by the memorialist, and that an express or expresses be employed 
and immediately sent off for that purpose, and that the expense attending 
the same be paid out of the contingent fund. 

P. 61. The House took up the report of the select committee to whom 
was referred the memorial of Gen. John Clark ; and the same, being read, 
is as follows : — 

The committee appointed on the memorial of General John Clark, to 
inquire into the official conduct of the Honorable Charles Tait, Judge of 
the Superior Court of the Western circuit of this State, report, that they 
have, in the prosecution of the inquiry, examined twenty-eight witnesses, 
whose names were furnished them by Gen. Clark to substantiate the 
several charges contained in hb memorial. 

Your committee, in discharging the duty assigned them, have, from 
the peculiarity of their situation and from a desire that a full and fair 
investigation might be bad, given a latitude in the admission of testimony 
not warranted by the rules of evidence or sound reason. From a thorough 
consideration of the testimony so received, it appears to your committee 
that a warrant for negro-stealing was issued in the town of Salisbury, in 
the State of North Carolina, bearing date the seventh day of November, 
1805, against one Robert Clary, which warrant was placed in the hands 
of one Josiah Glass, to whom it was in the body thereof specially directed, 
and which warrant was presented by the said Glass to Judge Tait, in the 
town of Sparta, on the 24th of February last, with a request that he would 
back the same, which the judge without hesitation did. That the said 
warrant was afterward presented by Glass to Edward Bryan, Esq., a 
justice of the peace of the county of Washington, who also backed the 
aame. That Robert Clary was taken upon the said warrant and carried 
to Greene Superior Court by Glass, to which court he was himself recog- 
nised to appear, to answer to an indictment for an assault. That on the 
first day of the said court. Glass by letter requested the judge ta attend 
and take the examination of a man then in his custody, who would make 
confessions highly interesting to the State and the United States. That 
oo the night of the same day, the judge, accompanied by Oliver Skinner, 
£sq., attended to take the examination, which was, however, not com- 
pleted that night ; but the judge, accompanied by the said Oliver Skinner, 
completed the same the next evening, and gave Glass a certified copy 
thereof to take to North Carolina, whither Glass was going to take Clary 
as a witness against the notorious Collins. That, from the whole of the 
evidence taken, it doth not appear to your committee that Judge Tait had 
any connection with either Glass or Clary, or knew what confession Clary 
would make. That the conduct of the judge through the whole trans- 
action appears to be fair and upright, and to have been done from a sense 
of duty. 

Your committee are decidedly of opinion that no improper or corrupt 
motives can with justice or truth be imputed to the judge on that 
occasion, and that, if the reputation of the memorialist has been injured 
by the confession, such injury cannot with propriety or truth be attributed 
to the judge. Your committee, therefore, forbearing further comment, 
beg leave to recommend the adoption of the following resolutions : — 

1. Resolvedy That the several charges exhibited against the Honorable 
Charles Tait, in the memorial of General John Clark, are unfounded in 
fact and unsupported by evidence. 



222 BENCH AND BAB OF GEORGIA. 

2. Resolvedy That the official conduct of the Honorable Charles Tut 
entitles him to the confidence of this House and of his fellow-citizens. 

After debate had thereon, the question was taken on the first resolution 
and decided in the affirmative^ — Yeas, 53; Nays, 3, — Mr. Crawford voting 
in the affirmative. 

The question was then taken on the second resolution and decided in 
the affirmative, — Yeas, 52 ; Nays, 4, — Mr. Crawford voting in the aflirma- 
tive. 

GEORGE R. CLAYTON. 

Extract from the message of Gov, John MilUdge, dated LouUvUley Sep- 
tember 23, 1806. House Journal^ p. 7. 

I gave the appointment of Treasurer to my Secretary, George Rootes 
Clayton, Esq. His long course of public du^ which he discharged while 
in the Executive Office, under a slender salary, with talents and great 
integrity, seemed to me to claim from the Government, as a reward due 
to his public merit, a higher appointment than the one he held.* Indeed, 
I should be wanting in justice to my own feelings and to the several 
officers whose duties have been performed immediately under my own 
eye, were I to retire from the Government without expressing my fullest 
approbation of their public conduct. 

BOUNDARY COMMISSIONERS, ETC. 

November Session, 1806. House Journal, p. 83. — On motion of Mr. 
Crawford, — 

Ordered, That the Clerk inform the Senate that this House is now 
ready to receive them in the Representative-Chamber, for the purpose of 
electing three commissioners to ascertain the 35th degree of north latitude 
and to run and mark the dividing-line between this State and the State of 
North Carolina, three commissioners for the sale of the fractional surveys, 
one conimissioner of the land-lottery in the room of Edwin Mounger, Esq., 
resigned, and an adjutant-general. 

Whereupon the president and members of the Senate attended, and, 
being seated in the Representative-Chamber, both branches proceeded by 
joint-ballot to the said elections ; and, on the ballots being received and 
examined, it appeared that Thomas P. Cames, Thomas Floumoy, and 
William Ramett, Esqs. were duly elected to ascertain the 35th degree of 
north latitude and to run and mark the dividing-line between this State 
and the State of North Carolina ; Rcddick Simms, Obadiah Echols, and 
Francis Flournoy, Esqs., Commissioners for the sale of the fractional 
surveys; James Rozeman, Esq., Commissioner of the land-lottery; and 
Daniel Newnan, Esq., Adjutant-General. 

TUIRD TERM FOR PRESIDENT JEFFERSON. 

December 6, 180G. House Journal, p. 87. On motion of Mr. Craw- 
ford, — 

Unanimously Resolved, That this Legislature, composed of the imme- 
diate Representatives of the people, by them elected to declare their will, 
viewing the blessings and distinguished political benefits derived in a State 
and national capacity from the impartial, wise, and judicious administration 



* Mr. Clayton afterward held the office of State Treasurer for about twenty 
years, — exact and faithful to the last. 



S 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 228 

of Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, embrace this 
opportunity of expressing their full and entire confidence and approbation 
of his official conduct. At the present momentous crisis, when the civil- 
ised nations of the Old World, to whom we are bound by the ties of interest 
or political friendship, are convulsed, and either engaged in the prose- 
cution of destructive wars or forming coalitions which threaten the 
destruction of nations and dynasties, it is of the utmost importance that 
our political bark should be directed by the hand of a master in whose 
integrity, discretion, and wisdom the people of these United States can 
with safety rely. We therefore, in the name of the people of Georgia, 
request that Thomas Jefferson will devote four years more of his life 
to the service of his country, in order more permanently to establish those 
principles of political liberty which are the boast and glory of Republican 
America. 

Resolved, unanimously, That his Excellency the Governor do, without 
delay, transmit a copy of these resolutions to our members in Congress, 
by them to be presented to our fellow-citizen Thomas Jefferson. 

The resolutions were immediately communicated to the Senate, 
and there unanimously concurred in. 

It is believed that these fragments of legislative history will prove 
interesting to the public, especially as the trial of Judge Tait is 
said to have provoked the enmity of Gen. John Clark on Mr. 
Crawford, thereby causing that inexorable party strife which for 
twenty years existed between those gentlemen and their respective 
adherents. Mr. Crawford's votes stand recorded for the acquittal 
of Judge Tait ; and that is the only reason, afforded by the record^ 
of Gen. Clark's persevering vindictiveness. 

After referring to the duel with Van Allen, Gov. Gilmer* says : — 

Gen. Clark, who having fought with fame at the battle of Jack's Creek, 
and distinguished himself by the active part which he took in the brawls 
common in those days, thought his efforts might be attended with better 
success. A challenge was sent to Mr. Crawford and accepted. On the 
day of the meeting, Clark and his second haras.sed him with quibbles and 
controversies until he was out of temper and off his guard. When he 
took his position, his disengaged arm was forgotten and suffered to hang 
outside his body, so that Gen. Clark's ball struck his wrist, which would 
otherwise have passed harmlessly by. Clark's hatred was increased 
instead of being appeased by his accidental success. He renewed his 
challenge without any renewed offence, and continued as long as he lived 
in Georgia to obstruct, by all the means which he could command, the 
way of Mr. Crawford's political advancement. 

Mr. Crawford was elected a member of the Legislature by the people 
of Oglethorpe for several successive years. His vigorous intellect and 
active industry entitled him to the first place among the members, — ^a 
position which he was not slow in assuming. 

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1807, and was soon 



* Georgians, p. 125. 



224 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

coDsidercd one of the great meD of the most select of the legislative bodies 
of the world. He had the confidence of Mr. Jefferson, and was one of Mr. 
Madison's most influential advisers. He showed his fearlessness in the 
discharge of puhlic duty by attacking Mr. Madison's Delphic-like recom- 
mendations when decisive measures were required bj the state of the 
country. He was rewarded for his independence by being sent minister 
to France. His tall, commanding person figured conspicuously among 
the diminutive Frenchmen, whilst his noble features and gallant temper 
rendered him a great favorite in Parisian society. When he returned 
home, polished by intimate association with the highest class of the 
politest nation, his appearance and manners made him the most imposins 
gentleman who had ever been seen in Georgia. He indeed surpassed 
in personal appearance Mr. Clay, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Lowndes, and General 
Jackson, his rivals for the Presidency, — though each one of them would 
have attracted attention among a million. 

Our country has been represented abroad by very able ministers, 
from the time of Dr. Franklin to President Buchanan ; but of them 
all, if there had to be one selected as the Colossus of intellect, 
there would be no difference of opinion in awarding the honor to 
Mr. Crawford. From such a mind much may be expected. While 
discharging his embassy at Paris, Mr. Crawford wrote several 
letters to Mr. Clay, one of the United States Commissioners to 
negotiate peace with Great Britain at Ghent. The first letter 
describes the capture of Paris by the allies : — 

Pabis, April 8, 1814. 

Dear Sir : — The events which have within a few days passed in thin 
city and in its neighborhood have changed every thing in France but the 
character of the Parisians, and perhaps of Frenchmen in general. 

On the 30th ult., a battle was fought in the vicinity of Paris, by the 
French troops under the Duke of Ragusa, amounting to between fifteen 
and twenty thousand men, and the grand allied army. The loss was con- 
siderable on both sides ; but that of the allies was more than double. It is 
estimated from eight to ten thousand men. The disparity in the loss was 
the rasult of the strong positions of the French troops, and the desire of 
the allies to get possession of the capital before the arrival of the Emperor 
Napoleon, who was advancing by rapid marches upon their rear. This 
desire was so predominant that they made no attempt to turn those posi* 
tions, but marched directly up to the intrenchments, where they were re- 
pulsed four or five times. The battle commenced about four o'clock A.M., 
and finished about the same time in the evening. The Duke of Ragusa 
entered into a convention, by which he agreed to evacuate the city, taking 
with him all his baggage, ammunition, and artillery. 

The next day the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia entered Ptois 
at the head of about fifty thousand of the finest troops in the world. The 
remainder of their immense army either defiled on the north or south side 
of the city, or remained in their positions on the east, which was the field 
of battle. The Emperor of Russia, with his Minister of Foreign Relations. 
went directly to the house of the Prince of Benevento,* who convened 

♦ Tallc\Taiid. 



WILLIAM H. GBAWFOBD. 225 

the Senate the same evening, and had himself and three of his friends, 
with one devoted Bourbonitei named to the provisional government. 
The Senate had deposed Napoleon Bonaparte, and directed the pro- 
yisional government to form a Constitution, — which has been accom- 
plished, and accepted by the Senate and the small portion of the legisla- 
tive corps who are now in Paris. The Moniteur of this day contains this 
Gonstitutiony which ^ou will probably see before you receive this let- 
ter. The monarchy is declared to be hereditary in the house of Bourbon 
in the male line. The present Senators remain Senators of the realm by 
the same tenure, — the Senate to consist of one hundred and fifty at least^ 
and not more than two hundred. The ancient and new nobility to remain. 
All Frenchmen to be capable of filling all the offices of the Government. 
The members of the legislative corps to hold their offices for five years, 
and to be elected directly by the people. 

The proceedings of the Senate and of the provisional government have 
overturned the authority of the Emperor with his army, and especially 
with his ablest generals. He seems to have sunk without an effort, — at least, 
without an effort corresponding in any degree with his former fame. Such, 
at least, is the conclusion which I draw from the facts which are communicated 
to the public. It is possible that these facts may be misrepresented. I 
believe, however, that it is certain that he has agreed to retire with his 
family to the isle of Elba upon a pension of six millions of livres. From 
the moment he saw that it was impossible for him to reign, he ought to 
have died. The manner was in his election. A strange infatuation seems 
to have influenced his conduct during the last six months. Still relying 
upon his talents and his power, he refused, at Prague, to secure at least 
the neutrality of Austria, by giving her every thing she required. After 
having retreated across the Rhine, he reluctantly accepted the basis which 
the allies proposed, and which there is some reason to believe they were 
sincerely disposed to adopt. Lord Castlereagh's mission, however, accord- 
ing to the best view of the subject which I have been able to take, was 
intended solely to prevent this accommodation. Time will prove the ac- 
curacy or inaccuracy of this opinion. There must have been great address 
employed in managing the Emperor of Austria, who had rejected all idea 
of overthrowing the reigning dynasty. The infatuation of the Emperor, 
and his arrogance to his father-in-law, (if we are to credit reports appa- 
rently well founded,) greatly contributed to the success of the British 
Secretary.* That the Emperor of Austria had been duped is clearly esta- 
blished by the declaration of the allies after the breaking up of the congress 
at Chatillon, and by the conduct of Lord Wellington. This declaration 
states that up to the 15th of March they were ready to make peace with 
the Emperor Napoleon ; whereas the address of Lord Wellington, on the 
2d of February, declares Louis XYIIL and raises the Bourbon standard. 
The introduction of the ancient dynasty is not acceptable to the great body 
of the people of Paris. Even now, after the Senate and provisional go- 
vernment have declared for that dynasty, there is not one man in a hun- 
dred who puts on the white cockade. On the day of the entry of 
the allied sovereigns, all the persons devoted to their ancient kings 

* Bobert Stewart, Marquis of Londonderry, (known as Lord Gastlereagh, who 
fought a duel with Mr. Canning,) was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 
1812. As leader of the House of Commons, his mind became impaired by exces- 
sive labor in 1822, and in August of that year he committed suicide by applying a 
penknife to his nock. 

Vol. I.— 16 



226 BENCH AND BAR OF GBORGIA. 

endeavored to make themselves as conspicaoos as possible, and to conceal 
the smallness of their numbers by continual change of place. Exertions 
were made to excite popular feeling and tumult, but without effort. But 
for the National Guard, popular tumult would have been excited, perhaps, 
but not in favor of the Bourbons. If the mob of Paris had been put in 
motion, it would have been in favor of a free government. 

The men now in power, as far as I have been able to judge, have preferred 
the succession of the King of Rome, with a regency provided by the Em- 
press ; but the Emperor Alexander, who, under tne modest exterior of 
submitting every thing to the will of the French people, dictates to the 
Senate and provisional government at least this article of their Constitu- 
tion. 

I did not anticipate precisely the manner in which this iluropean peace 
was to be consummated. I most sincerely wish you complete success in 
your negotiations, although I apprehend that great difficulties will be pre- 
sented. Under existing circumstances, if peace is made, I presume that 
the treaty will be very short, concluding nothing but peace and the resto- 
ration of what territory may be in the hands of either party by conquest, 
if there is any such. 

P.S. — I send this by the Secretary of the Danish Legation, who sets out 
immediately for Copenhagen, which gives me no opportunity for reflection 
or revision of this hasty scrawl, as I have just been informed of the fact 
of his setting out. 

MR. CRAWFORD TO MR. CLAY. 

Paris, Jane 10, 1814. 

My dear Sir : — Mr. Carroll arrived a few days ago, and brought me 
your letters of the 10th and 14th ult. The change in the place* of 
the negotiation for peace will enable me to write you frequently, and 
will afford me the pleasure of receiving from you the most interesting 
details upon the advances which you shall make from day to day in the 
work of peace. My expectations of a happy result are not strong. The 
arrogance of the enemy was never greater than at the present moment 
The infatuation of that nation excludes almost the possibility of peace. 
The ministry is represented as being very temperate and moderate. In 
my former communications I have stated the reasons which I have for 
doubting the sincerity of their professions of moderation. I may have 
been wrong in my inferences. I wish that the result may correct me of 
this error. Admitting the possibility that the British ministers will con- 
sent to make peace, without deciding any thing upon the question of im- 
pressment, will your instructions justify vou in accepting it ? So far as 
I am acquainted with the nature of those instructions, their letter will not 
But those instructions were given at a time when the great changes which 
have intervened in Europe were not only unknown, but wholly unexpected. 
What will be the effect which these changes will produce upon the de- 
termination of the Government? Will the Government, after they are 
informed of these changes, give directions to conclude peace, leaving the 
question of impressment open to further negotiation ? Will it consent 
to a peace which shall make no mention of this question ? I presume 
it will. If the negotiators shall be of this opinion, ought they to hesitate 

* From Qottenburg, in Sweden, to Qhent, in Belgiom. 



Ik 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 227 

to accept, in the most prompt manner, of a peace which thej are convinced 
the Goyemment will instruct them to make so soon as it is informed of 
the actual state of things? I should answer, promptly, No. A peace 
which omits the question of impressment entirely will leave the American 
Government at perfect liberty to apply the proper remedy whenever the 
evil shall be felt. I do not believe that you will be placed in a situation 
to determine this question. I believe they will insist upon the unquali- 
fied admission of their right to impress on board American vessels at sea. 
This, I trust, will never be conceded. It would be better to return to 
our colonial relations with our mother-country than submit to this condi- 
tion. 

As there is but a faint glimmering of hope that the negotiation will 
terminate in peace, the next important point to be obtained is that it shall 
break off upon principles which will convince the American people, of 
all parties, that peace can be obtained only by the most vigorous prosecu- 
tion of the war. I have the most unlimited confidence in the skill and 
address of our negotiators. I am perfectly satisfied that the negotiation 
will be conducted with a view to affect this important point. I have seen 
and conversed with several Englishmen in Paris upon the question of im- 
pressment, and find the most of them very ignorant and arrogant. Sir 
Thomas Baring is an exception to this remark. But his mode of ad- 
justing the question is wholly inadmissible. He proposes that no im- 
pressment shall be made in vessels engaged in the coasting- trade, — that 
DO impressment shall take place in vessels engaged in the foreign trade in 
sight of the American coast. He thinks the ministry will hardly go so far. 
A merchant of the name of Wilson says that an arrangement of a different 
nature would be satisfactory to the nation. It is this : — that when a Bri- 
tish officer shall visit an American vessel and designate any one of the 
crew as a British subject, and he should admit the fact, that the master 
or captain of the American vessel should deliver him up ] if the man 
should deny that he is an Englishman, and the captain should refuse to 
deliver him up, that the visiting officer should endorse the ship's papers 
with the name of the sailor and with his allegation. The question of na- 
tionality shall be inquired into at the first port at which the vessel shall 
touch where there is a British consul : if found against the sailor, the 
captain shall pay a fine, or the expenses of the investigation, and (he sailor 
shall be delivered up; if for him, the British consul — or, if in Eng- 
land, the British Government — should be subject to the same payment. 
He says that in the case of an admitted British subject, if the American 
captain should declare that the loss of the man would endanger the ves- 
sel, that he should be kept on board until the vessel entered the port of 
destination, when the captain should be bound to deliver him over to 
the British consul, or officer authorized to receive him. 

I see no objection to this plan, except that the captain should not be 
permitted to deliver any man who denies the charge until it is established 
against him. This arrangement will give the enemy the absolute control 
over their own seamen, as far as the fact of nationality can be established. 
It at the same time screens American sailors from arbitrary impressment. 
If the vessel should be bound to the ports of a nation at war with England, 
it might be made the duty of the American consul at such port to ship him 
on board an American vessel bound to England, to the United States, or 
to a neutral port, where the fact should be promptly settled. I do not 
believe that this arrangement will be acceptable to the Government of 



k 



228 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Eogland, because I do not believe they will be satisfied with any arrange- 
ment which will prevent their seizing upon the sailors of other nations. 
If I am correct in my conjecture, the proposition will embarrass them; and 
the rejection will prove to the most prejudiced mind that they are 
determined to make the American sailors fight the batUes which are to 
rivet the chains of slavery which they have been forging for all maritime 
states, and especially for the seafaring men of those states, for a centuiy 
past. I have thought that this arrangement ought to be suggested to you, 
because it may not have occurred to any one of our ministers. I think 
it highly improbable that the English negotiators will make any proposi- 
tion of this nature. If their pretensions shall be so moderate as to afibrd 
rational ground for discussion, this arrangement may be proposed with 
advantage. 

If their views arc so unreasonable as to exclude discussion, that of 
itself will have the happy effect of convincing all parties that the peace 
must be obtained by the sword alone! But even in this case, when the 
rejection of the arrangement will be certain, I am inclined to believe that 
the proposition, coming from the American ministers, will have a ten- 
dency to elucidate the extent of the concessions which they demand upon 
this point, more satisfactorily than any other mode which has been pre- 
sented to my mind. Mr. Wilson is a true John Bull, — but, I believe, a 
very honest man, and, I am sure, sincerely desirous of peace. The rejec- 
tion of the arrangement will probably have some effect upon the English 
nation - itself. If this principle will be satisfactory to Mr. Wilson, it is 
probable that it will be acceptable to many others, — ^in fact, to all reason- 
able men, — to all men who have not formed the foolbh and extravagant 
idea of recolonizing the United States. 

I have felt that it was my duty to present this subject to you in its 
fullest extent. I have verbally communicated it to Mr. Bayard. It is 
probable that Mr. Wilson may have communicated this idea to Mr. Gal- 
latin, as he made his acquaintance, and that of Mr. Bayard's also, in Lon- 
don. He had not suggested it to the latter. 

I will obtain the necessary passports for you and send them on to 
Ghent, as the Moniteur of yesterday has notified that it is necessaiy to 
have them to leave the kingdom. I suppose it is equally necessary to 
enter it. 

From the letters which I have written to you, you will perceive that 
some of my inferences have been proved, by subsequent events, to be in- 
correct. I reasoned from the facts as they were presented to my mind; 
and I feel no mortification at the result. If it was my duty to oommu- 
nicate every thing to you which I knew or believed at the moment of 
writing, I do not feel any mortification that some of my conjectures, some 
of my inferences, have proved to be incorrect. 

I have authority to draw on the bankers of the United States for 
diplomatic intercourse and for disbursements for distressed seamen. 
Under the first head I can satisfy Mr. Carroll's expenses, and should do 
it with great pleasure on his own account, as well as upon your request I 
am well acquainted with his father, and entertain the highest esteem for 
him. 

This letter will be delivered to you by Mr. Bayard, who, I am happy 
to inform you, coincides with me in every question relative to the peace. 
He believes, with me, if the nation can be united in the prosecution of the 
war, that the interest of the United States will be promoted by the £ulore 



J 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 229 

of the negotiation. He ^ill heartily unite with you in hringing the dis- 
cufiBions to a close that will secure this great object. I think, from the 
English papersy that no armistice has been agreed upon. I rejoice that it 
has failed. It might ha?e done us much injury, but could not possibly do 
US any good. 

God bless you, my dear sir, and bless your labors, and make them useful 
to your country. Mine, I believe, are like water spilled on the ground, 
that can never be gathered. Adieu. 

MR. CRAWFORD TO MR. CLAT. 

Pabis, July 4, 1814. 

My dear Sir: — I have but little to add to the contents of my pre- 
ceding letters. Mr. Oallatin, and the young gentlemen who accompany 
or follow immediately after him, will give you the ephemeral news of this 
capital. There is little doing here which can interest an American 
citizen. 

I am not sanguine in my expectations of peace. If the failure of your 
exertions to put an end to the war shall succeed in producing unanimity 
at home, we shall have no cause to lament that failure. I am thoroughly 
convinced that the United States can never be called upon to treat under 
circumstances less auspicious than those which exist at the present moment, 
unless our internal bickerings shall continue to weaken the eflforts of the 
Government. I sincerely trust that this will not be the case. In your 
letter to Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard, you state that the elections in the 
East had terminated against the Government, but by smaller majorities 
than on the preceding elections. I have not yet received any further in- 
formation upon the subject than what is contained in that letter. There 
is a chasm in my newspapers, delivered by Mr. Carroll, from the 19th 
March to 5th April. If you can supply this chasm, you will greatly 
oblige me. 

From what I have lately discovered of the councils of this nation, and 
of the temper of the principal maritime states of Europe, I am inclined 
to believe that the time at which they may be disposed to oppose the mari- 
time usurpations of our enemy will be more distant than I had previously 
imagined. At all events, I am fearful that it will be more distant than 
we shall be disposed to prosecute the war, to avoid concessions which they 
will feel as severely as we shall. 

In the prosecution of the war, the great difficulty we shall have to 
encounter will be the raising of money. The war will give us soldiers 
and point out the officers qualified to command, but it wDl neither coin 
money or increase our credit. If we can get through this campaign 
without any signal defeat and without the loss of any of our principal 
commercial cities, and can raise for the ensuing year the sums necessaiv 
for the prosecution of the war, we shall find ourselves in much more eli- 
gible circumstances at the close of the next campaign than we are at 
present. 

I do not look forward with dismay : I believe we shall rise superior to 
all the difficulties with which we are surrounded. I trust we shall live to 
enjoy many happy celebrations of this anniversary of our national exist- 
ence. 

Give my best respects to your colleagues, and accept for yourself the 
assurance of my warmest friendship. 

P.S. — I will send by Mr. Todd the passport necessary to enable you to 



230 BENCH AND BAR OF OBORQIA. 

come to Paris after you close your diplomatic functions. I repeat my request 
that you will make my house your home during your resldenoe here. If 
you wish to take a disciple of Pestalozzi with you to the United States, 
one can he obtained. Upon him you can impose the condition of teaching 
the Greek and Latin. You will have, however, to maintain him until he 
learns English enough to teach. The economy of Switzerland makes this 
expense very inconsiderable. I have learned with great pleasure, from 
the enemies of the system^ that it has overcome the prejudices even of 
the priesthood. 

MR. CRAWFORD TO MR. CLAT. 

Paris, July 9, 1814, 

Mt dear Sir : — ^I acknowledge with much pleasure your very inte- 
resting letter of the 2d instant, by the hands of Mr. Carroll. 

It appears that we differ in opinion upon two points. You believe that 
the British Government will not hesitate to make peace, leaving the ques- 
tion of impressment wholly out of view. You appear also to believe that 
the events of the present campaign will have a favorable effect upon your 
negotiations. I sincerely wish you may be right ; but I am strongly in- 
clined to believe that the result will prove your opinions to be incorrect. 

When I foresaw that peace would probably take place in Europe in the 
early part of the year, I did not expect that the manner in which the war 
has terminated would so inflate the arrogance of the enemy as it manifestlv 
has done. I thought, as you now think, that England would not hesi- 
tate to make peace by waiving the question of impressment. I am even 
now convinced that her interest requires that this course should be adopted. 
There are, however, occasions in which nations, like individuals, blinded 
by some momentary but predominant passion, turn a deaf ear to the 
voice of interest. This I presume to be the case with our enemy at the 
present moment. Various facts which have come to my knowledge have 
led me to believe that she will now decidedly reject any proposition which 
you can make which docs not admit the legality of her practice of im- 
pressment on board American vessels at sea. 

At the moment, however, when I presented to the joint embassy the idea 
of making peace by omitting this question, even if your instructions did 
not literally warrant it, I still believed that England would consent to this 
course. At that time I expected the negotiation to open at Gottenburg, 
about the 1st of May. I did not expect that instructions would be re- 
ceived from the Government, founded on the recent changes of Europe, 
before the month of August. At the date of my letter to you of the 10th 
ultimo, my opinion of the views of the British Government had in some 
degree changed; but even then I expected the negotiation to open a 
month sooner than it probably will. I also expected that the change of 
the seat of negotiations would probably postpone the receipt of the 
instructions expected from the United States. These reasons, together 
with those which arise from the expectation of a different result from 
our military operations from that which you entertain, aided by the 
expr^ wish of Mr. Bayard that I should present the questijQ anew to 
you individually, must plead my apology for its intrusion upon your 
attention. 

If there was any rational ground to expect that by a longer prosecution 
of the war we should ultimately succeed in compelling the enemy to re- 
linquish, by treaty, the practice of impressment, I would not hesitate to 



1 



WILLIAM H.CBAWFORD. 281 

continae the war. I believe there is no such reasoDable ground of ezpeo- 
tatioD, unless wo are disposed to bequeath this war to our sons. 

The Russian o£Qcers now in Paris who have been in England are highly 
dbgusted with that nation. They speak of a war with Austria as certain. 
In this I think they are mistaken. If war breaks out on the Continent, I 
presume England, in her present temper, must have a finger in it. In 
this question, however, as she has no resentments to gratify, she will be 
governed by her interest. She will, therefore, be against that power 
which is most commercial and the destruction of whose commerce will 
tend most directly to her interest. 

I must really apologize to you for the length of my letters. 

Present me most respectfully to your colleagues, and accept yourself 
the assurance of my most sincere friendship. 

P.S. — Mr. Carroll leaves Paris sooner than I expected. I will send 
your passport by Mr. Todd. 

Remember me to the young gentlemen of the mission. 

MR. CRAWFORD TO MR. CLAT. 

Pabis, July 19, 1814. 

lilY DEAR Sir : — The departure of Messrs. Blanchard and Elliot for 
Ghent enables me to send you the passport which I have obtained for 
you. They will be able to give you the ephemeral news of this capital. 

I dined a few days ago in company with the Marquis of Buckingham- 
shire. We conversed long and freely upon the subject of the approaching 
negotiation. The result of our conversation was that there can be no 
peace. He insists absolutely that the question shall be settled in this 
treaty, and, of course, that it shall be settled entirely in their favor. Ho 
attempted to derive their right to take (for he insisted upon dropping the 
word impressment, to which I assented) their seamen from our vessels, 
from the law of nations. 

It is certainly a pleasant reflection that two such men as Mr. 
Crawford and Mr. Clay, men of gigantic intellect, of expanding 
greatness at home, should both be engaged abroad in the diplo- 
matic service of their country— one as Minister Plenipotentiary 
and the other as Commissioner Extraordinary — in the midst of the 
convulsions of Europe. How they both acquitted themselves of 
the high trusts committed to them, history has long since declared. 
Honor and gratitude awaited their return. The picture of social 
communion between these eminent citizens while on another conti- 
nent is rendered still more attractive by the rivalry which it was 
their fortune to maintain, ten years afterward, for the first office 
in the Government. But they had too much nobility of spirit to 
suffer this conflict of parties to change the personal relations of 
the two great leaders. The narrative will bring them together 
again in friendly correspondence after both have filled places in 
the Cabinet. 



282 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBGIA. 

From the time of accepting the mission to France in 1814, 
Mr. Crawford continued in high Executive employments untO 
March 4, 1825, when he retired to private life, after declining a 
reappointment as Secretary of the Treasury, tendered him by 
President Adams. Some of the events of that period will be here 
noticed. 

On the 3d of March, 1815, Mr. Crawford's appointment as 
Secretary of War, on the nomination by President Madison, was 
confirmed by the Senate of the United States. During the recess, 
October 22, 1816, he was transferred to the Treasury Department. 
On the coming in of President Monroe's administration, March 4, 
1817, Mr. Crawford was again nominated to the same office, and 
confirmed the next day. He continued in the office of Secretary 
of the Treasury through both terms of President Monroe. His 
official reports have been justly ranked with the ablest that ever 
emanated from that Department. Indeed, he was a worthy suc- 
cessor of such financiers as Hamilton, Gallatin, and Dallas, and 
the equal of any one of them in the ability to investigate and the 
logic to unfold the intricacies of political science. It is not deemed 
necessary to refer to any documents for the truth of this assertion. 
Congress, the heads of Department, the verdict of the country, 
have affirmed it for the last thirty years. No higher authority 
can be adduced for any movement affecting the public revenue than 
the opinion of Mr. Crawford. Extracts from his reports and other 
official papers ara often submitted by his successors in office to 
justify particular acts. The precedent has the authority of a 
judicial determination. 

From the time he entered the Cabinet, Mr. Crawford was looked 
to by the public as a suitable man for President of the United 
States. At the session of 1822-23 he was nominated in a caucus 
of the Republican members of Congress. During the campaign 
his claims were examined by the partisan press, and he was sub- 
jected to the most bitter and unjust persecution. Those who 
desire to see the machinery used in preparing for a Presidential 
canvass are referred to the letter of the Hon. John Elliott, a 
Senator in Congress from Georgia, to be found in the Appendix* 
to this volume ; and those who are curious to see the result officially 
stated will be informed by the letter of the Hon. R. H. Wilde, 
(No. 131,) also in the Appendix. 

Perhaps at no stage of this memoir could a letter from Mr. 



* Memoir of Gen. Blackshear, — No. 125 of the papen attached. 



\ 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 283 

Jefferson to Mr. Crawford, relative to the defeat of the latter for 
President, be more appropriately introduced. It has never before 
been made public ; and it is permitted to appear only at the special 
desire of the author of jihis work, expressed in a communication to 
the gentleman* who furnished it. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON TO WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 

MoNTiCELLO, February 15, 1825. 

Dear Sir : — ^Your two letters, of January 31 and February 4, were 
received in due time. With the former came safely the seeds from Mr. 
Appleton, which I commit to the Agricultural Society of our county, of 
which Mr. Madison is president. 

Of the talents and qualifications of Dr. Jackson as a professor in the 
branches of science specified in your last letter, your recommendation 
would have had great weight in our estimation ; but our professors are all 
designated, so that we have no vacancy in which we can avail ourselves 
of his services. 

I had kept back my acknowledgment of these letters, in the hope I 
might have added in it congratulations which would have been very 
cordially offered. I learned yesterday, however, that events had not been 
what we had wished. The disappointment will be deeply felt by our 
State generally, and by no one in it more seriously than myself. I con- 
fess that what we have seen in the course of this election has very much 
damped the confidence I had hitherto reposed in the discretion of my 
fellow-citizens. The ignorance of character, the personal partialities, and 
the inattention to the qualifications which ought to have guided their 
choice, augur ill of the wisdom of our future course. Looking, too, to 
Congress, my hopes are not strengthened. A decided majority there 
seem to measure their powers only by what they may think, or pretend to 
think, for the general welfare of the States. All limitations, therefore, 
are prostrated, and the general welfare in name, but consolidation in 
effect, is now the principle of every department of the Government. 

I have not long to witness this ; but it adds another to the motives by 
which the decays of nature so finely prepare us for welcoming the hour 
of exit from this state of being. Be assured that in your retirement you 
will carry with jou my confidence, and sincere prayers for your health, 
happiness, and prosperity. Th. Jefferson. 

Testimony from so distinguished a quarter — from the founder of 
the Republican party in the United States, no less a man than 
the author of the Declaration of American Independence himself, 
and one of the most learned and sagacious politicians the world has 
ever produced — must have been gratifying to Mr. Crawford at the 
time, as it will remain an enduring memorial, honorable to his 
memory. 

* George M. Dudley, Esq., son-in-law of Mr. Crawford, — ^haying married his eldest 
daughter, Caroline, who was the fimanaensis of her father during his affliction 
while Secretary of the Treasury. 



284 BENCH AND BAB OF GEOBGU. 

After his return to Georgia, Mr. Crawford visited Milledgeville 
in the early part of the session of 1825, — when the Clark party 
had a majority in both branches of the Legislature, though Troup 
had been elected Governor at the same election. The civilities of 
a public dinner were tendered and accepted, as the following cor- 
respondence will show : — 

MiLLEDQEViLLE, NoYcmbcr 11, 1825. 

Sir : — The citizens of the town of Milledgeville, not less disposed to 
honor and respect virtue and integrity than those of any other town, 
State, or country, have (influenced by a degree of proper respect for the 
well-earned merits of a distinguished citizen of Georgia) determined to 
pay you that attention which, in their opinion, is appropriately due you. 
They have therefore resolved to manifest to you and their country their 
esteem for your public and private worth, by giving to you a public enter- 
tainment during your stay among them, and have, in pursuance thereof, 
directed the undersigned to notify you of the same, and give you the 
invitation so determined on by our citizens, and further to know of yon 
when it will be convenient for you to attend. 

With considerations of high regard, we have the honor to be, sir, your 
obedient servants, Hines Holt, 

J. S. Calhoun, 
Wm. H. Torrance, 
Lucius Q. G. Lamab, 
Wm. Y. Hansell. 
Hon. Wm. H. Crawford. 

MR. Crawford's reply. 

MiLLEDOEviLLK, NoYember 11, 1825. 

Gentlemen : — Your friendly letter of this date, inviting me to a public 
dinner, has been just received. I accept the invitation with great plea- 
sure, under a conviction that testimonials of this nature may operate as a 
stimulus to virtuous exertion and therefore may be useful to the Republic. 
For your kind expression in relation to myself, be pleased, gentlemen, to 
accept my most grateful thanks, both individually and collectively. 

I am, gentlemen, with sentiments of high consideration, your most obe- 
dient servant and fellow-citizen, Wm. H. Crawford. 

To Hines Holt, J. S. Calhoun, Wm. H. Torrance, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, 
and Wm. Y. Hansell, Esquires. 

Among the toasts oflFered on the occasion were the following : — 

6. Our distinguished guest. — Reared in the school of RepublictoSy 
public employments at home and abroad have not impaired the simplicity 
of his character. 

By the Hon, Wm, H. Crawford, — Education, the frequency and free- 
dom of elections, the main pillars of Constitutional government. 

Before tracing Mr. Crawford any farther, the author begs leave 
to incorporate in this memoir portions of a letter from Col. Dudley, 
in reply to one requesting information relative to Mr. Crawford| 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 235 

which had not been published, and especially in regard to the 
manner of preparing his Treasury reports while he was confined 
to his room by the long and painful illness which alone, in the 
opinion of many, prevented his election to the Presidency. Though 
perhaps intended as a private letter, the author relies upon the 
kindness of Col. Dudley to excuse the liberty here taken : — 

The notice taken of him [Mr. Crawford] by Col. Benton, in his book, 
is quite as impartial as his friends had a right to expect ; and his testi- 
mony is the more valuable because given by one whose political position 
iDolined him to accord no more to Mr. Crawford than exact justice seemed 
to demand. 

The facts in respect to Mr. Crawford's last report as Secretary of 
the Treasury are about these. He could not see to write at all, nor had 
he the physical ability to encounter the labor of preparing his report. Mr. 
Forsyth, among others, kindly offered to write it out for him. This offer 
was accepted, and Mr. F. was furnished with the outlines needed to frame 
the report. The report was drawn up by Mr. Forsyth and submitted to 
Mr. Crawford for approval before signature. In consequence, no doubt, 
of the pressure of Mr. Forsyth's official engagements, and not from any 
want of ability or lack of kindness to Mr. Crawford, the report was not 
satisfactory, and it was considered necessary to write it over again. Mr. 
Crawford sent for Asbury Dickens to come to his bedside and learn the 
facts in detail necessary to be embodied, and from them to prepare a full 
and perfect report. Mr. Dickens made several attempts to write out the 
report before it was satisfactory, but at last succeeded to Mr. Crawford's 
entire satisfaction. 

It is true that his daughter did much of his writing, but generally at 
his own dictation. Nothing official escaped his severest scrutiny before 
it was given to the public. Notwithstanding this, Mr. Crawford seems 
to have retained fewer copies of his letters and papers than any 
man who ever occupied the position he did before the public view. 
Having always a contempt for intrigue, he never seems to have suspected 
anybody, and was the last to believe that anybody was plotting against 
him. His daughter frequently signed his name to official papers, at his 
request, during his illness ; and those signatures were generally taken to 
be his own, even by those best acquainted with his autograph. In this 
way some of his fnends never, in truth, understood the force and violence 
of his disease, but constantly affirmed that he. could not be so sick as 
he was represented to be ; because, they said, it was impossible for a man 
even partially paralyzed to write his name as he wrote it, — so firm, so bold, 
so manly, was the signature. There was also a very striking resemblance 
between his own and his daughter's handwriting in general, as well as in 
respect to the signature. 

In consequence of the strong personal attachment shown Mr. Crawford 
by Mr. Bayard, Mr. Louis McLane, and other distinguished and magna- 
nimous disciples of the Federal school of politics, as well as in consequence 
of his advocating the national bank, he was at one time called a Federal- 
ist. Perhaps the dauntless intrepidity with which Mr. MoLane sus- 
tained his claims to the Presidency in the darkest hour of his political 
fortunes gave strength and vigor to the imputation. But, while we feel 
assured that to account for Mr. McLane's vote on the ground of party or 



236 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

personal attachment alone would be doing great injustice to his character, 
we are equally well assured that Mr. Crawford*s high respect and cordial 
friendship for Mr. McLane, and other members of the Federal party, 
never impaired in the slightest degree his devotion to the doctrines which 
distinguished the Republican party from the days of Jefferson to the pre- 
sent hour. 

There was an incident connected with Mr. Crawford's appointment 
as minister to the court of St. Cloud, by President Madison, which adds 
another to the many proofs of the juagnanimity of the latter, and shows 
how far above selfish considerations he placed what he believed to be the 
public weal. At the opening of the session of Congress preceding this 
appointment, Mr. Crawford had indulged in some severe strictures upon 
the President's message. Among other things, he compared it to the 
axioms of the Delphic oracle, which meant any thing or nothing as best 
comported with the taste of the inquirer. The North and East were 
opposed to the war, — though it was on their account principally that war 
was declared, — while the South and West were for it. *' This message," 
said Mr. Crawford, '^ is sufficiently Delphic for either point of the com- 
pass.'' A less philosophical temperament, a less magnanimous and patriodo 
President, might have been so vexed with the speaker as to have declined 
all further intercourse with him. But not so Mr. Madison. Times and 
circumstances pointed to Mr. Crawford as a suitable minister to France ; 
and he was appointed without hesitation, notwithstanding his severe 
criticisms upon the message. 

Though Mr. Crawford has told us of the bow he made on his pre- 
sentation to the Emperor Napoleon, his modesty prevented him from 
saying what special honor§ he received in return. We are indebted to 
his secretary* of legation and others for the following incident. By these 
it is stated that Napoleon was so much struck with his firm step, his lofty 
bearing, his tall, manly, and imposing figure, decorated for the first time 
in whatever additional grandeur the splendors of the court-dress of the 
Empire can throw around one of nature's noblest mould, the mild radiance 
of his clear blue eyes, and the undisturbed serenity of his eloquent counte- 
nance, he avowed that Mr. Crawford was the only man to whom he had 
ever felt constrained to bow, and that on that occasion he had invo- 
luntarily bowed twice as he received the minister from the United States. 
The homage thus paid him by the Emperor was said to be a rare if 
not unprecedented occurrence at this court The Emperor was one of 
those who observed, upon looking at Mr. Crawford, that he was among 
the few distinguished men whose actual appearance more than realized 
what one anticipated before seeing him. 

I herewith send you a copy of a letter received by Mr. Crawford 
from Mr. Jefferson immediately after Mr. Adams' election by the House 
of Representatives, in 1825, and which mainly refers to that event, and 
is an expression of sentiment by Mr. Jefferson upon the result of that 
election. 

Mr. Crawford's health was very much shattered by his attack 
at Washington City described in the foregoing letter. His speech 
was so injured that it cost him much effort at times to articulate 



* The late Dr. Henry Jackson. 



WILUAM H. CRAWFORD. 237 

distinctly. In this respect, however, he continued to improve, and 
was once more a very interesting talker, though always laboring 
under some difficulty in the vocal organs. 

A vacancy having occurred on the bench of the Northern cir- 
cuit by the death of Judge Dooly, in May, 1827, Gov. Troup ap- 
pointed Mr. Crawford to fill it until the meeting of the Legislature. 
His commission as judge bore date June 1, 1827. In November 
of that year, he was elected by the Legislature to serve out the 
term of Judge Dooly, which was until the session of 1828, at 
which time Judge Crawford was re-elected for a full term. He 
was also re-elected in 1831, being two complete terms, besides 
filling the vacancy. 

During his time there was no court for the correction of errors 
in Georgia. There was a convention of the circuit judges author- 
ized by law, annually, to consult on questions submitted by each 
other ; but no judgment could be rendered by the convention, and 
its action was altogether advisory, — which often answered a good 
purpose, better than if no such arrangement had existed. During 
the seven years that he presided as Judge of the Superior Court, 
Judge Crawford acted as chairman of the convention. For the 
sake of securing uniformity, he issued the following notification, 
which appeared in the Southern Recorder of November 20, 1830 : — 

DECISIONS OF THE JUDGES. 

Whereas, it is provided, among other things, in the 1st section of the 
3d article of the Constitution, that the Superior Court ^^ shall have power 
to correct errors in inferior jurisdictions by writ of certiorari, as well as 
errors in the Superior Courts, and to order new trials on proper and legal 
grounds : provided, that such new trials shall be determined, and such 
errors committed, in the Superior Court of the county in which such action 
originated." And, by the 55th section of the Judiciary Act of 1799, it 
is also declared that the Superior Courts '' shall have power to correct errors 
and grant new trials in any cause depending in any of the said Superior 
Courts, in such manner and under such rules and regulations as they 
may establish according to law and the usages and customs of courts." 

Now, for the more effectual execution of the foregoing powers conferred 
upon the Superior Court, and for producing uniformity of decision and con- 
structions of law throughout the circuits of the State, it is resolved by the 
judges of said courts that they will convene semi-annually at Milledgeville, 
in the fall, according to the law requiring a convention of judges, and in the 
spring, at such time as the chairman may appoint, after the close of the 
present session of the Legislature ; and that each judge will bring to the 
meeting a docket of such causes in which legal questions have arisen, where, 
in his opinion, error may have been committed in the decision thereof, or 
where the same may be of so doubtful a nature as to require the advice and 
aid of the other judges ; and the said dockets shall be severally taken up by 
the meeting, and the cases duly considered by the judges, upon such written 



238 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

argument as eacb party may choose to furnish, and, after asceriaiuiDg the 
opinion of a majority of the judges in each case, the judge to whose cireait 
the same may belong shall determine the same, in the county where said 
action originated, according to the advice and opinion received in the said 
meeting of the judges. Wm. H. Crawford, 

Chairman. 
MiLLEDQBviLLB. NoYcmber 3, 1830. 

This reference to the Judiciary Act of 1799 must have revived 
his early professional labors when, with Horatio Marbury, thirty 
years before, Judge Crawford compiled the first digest of the laws 
of Georgia, — a work executed with considerable skill in the arrange- 
ments and references. The Colonial Acts and Orders in Council 
were sifted and classified with the laws passed since, which made 
the compilation of the utmost value. It is even now occasionally 
resorted to, and some very unexpected statute or clause giving a 
proper interpretation is evoked, to the dismay of counsel and the 
failure of suitors. 

While indulging in these reflections, the mind of the ex-Secretary 
of the Treasury, and now presiding chairman of the Convention of 
Judges, (the only substitute Georgia then had for a court of errors,) 
must have recalled his associate tutor in the Richmond Academy, 
the Hon. Chas. Tait, whose fortunes also became conspicuous. He 
held the oflSce of Judge of the Western circuit from 1803 to 1809, 
and served as a Senator in Congress from 1809 to 1819, when 
President Monroe appointed him Judge of the United States Dis- 
trict Court for Alabama, which caused him to remove to that State. 
He exercised the office six years, and resigned in 1825. Judge 
Tait was a native of Louisa county, Virginia, and removed to 
Georgia in early life. He died at his residence in Wilcox county, 
Alabama, on the 7th day of October, 1835, at the age of sixty- 
eight years, an upright citizen and a Christian. This brief allusion 
to him is deemed appropriate in the memoir of Judge Crawford, to 
connect their memories on the same page, testifying the mutual 
friendship which existed between them to the last. 

Having been actively engaged in high trusts under the Federal 
Government for a series of years, and, of course, altogether with- 
drawn from the practice of the courts, Judge Crawford no doubt 
felt himself a little embarrassed by the judicial commission issued 
to him by Gov. Troup in 1827. But, as in every thing where duty 
called, he went boldly forward and gave the people of his circuit 
a wise and just administration. In the mean time he did not for- 
get his old friend and rival Henry Clay, (then Secretary of State,) 
to whom he addressed the following letter : — 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 289 

WooDLAWN, February 4, 1828. 

My dear Sir : — Enclosed is a letter for Mr. Poinsett, our minister 
in Mexico, which I will thank you to forward to Mr. Poinsett with as 
little delay as is consistent with your convenience. The object of the 
letter is to obtain from him some of the productions of Mexico which 
will probably succeed in the Southern and Western States. Perhaps an 
intimation from the Secretary of State on this subject may be productive 
of good effects. 

I hope you know me too well to suppose that I have countenanced the 
charge of corruption which has been reiterated against you. The truth 
is, I approved of your vote for Mr. Adams when it was given, and should 
have voted as you did between Jackson and Adams. But candor compels 
me to say that I disapproved of your accepting an office from him. You 
ought, I think, to have foreseen that his administration could hardly fail 
to be unpopular. Those who knew his temper, disposition, and political 
opinions, entertained no doubt upon the subject. By accepting the office 
of Secretary of State from him you have indisputably connected your for- 
tunes with his. And it appears to me that he is destined to fall as his 
fkther did, and you must fall with him. This State could not have been 
driven under the banners of Jackson by any other course of measures 
than that pursued by the administration toward it. Mr. Adams's general 
measures would not have ranged the State under Jackson's standard. Mr. 
Adams has professed to consider the Federal Government limited by the 
enumerated powers; yet he has recommended to Congress to erect light- 
houses to the skies, — a recommendation utterly inconsistent with the idea 
of the Government being limited by the enumerated powers. This re- 
commendation, it appears to me, can be supported by no other construc- 
tion than that Congress can do any thing which is not expressly forbidden 
by the Constitution. The whole of his first message to Congress is replete 
with doctrines which I hold to be unconstitutional. 

Present my respects to Mrs. Clay, and accept the same yourself. 

Wm. H. Crawford. 

mr. clay to mr. crawford.* 

Washinqton, February 18, 1828. 

My DEAR Sir: — I received your lett(?r of the 4th instant, and I will 
take pleasure in having forwarded the letter which it enclosed to Mr. 
Poinsett, with the first public despatches. I should not hesitate to inti- 
mate to him my wish that he would comply with your request for the 
Mexican seeds, etc., if I were not persuaded that it would be altogether 
unnecessary for me to second any expression of your desire to him. Our 
country needs much the multiplication of the products of the earth, as 
well as of industry otherwise applied; and he deserves well of it who will 
introduce a neW; or more successfully cultivate an old^ article of agri- 
culture. 

I do, my dear sir, know you too well to suppose that you ever counte- 
nanced the charge of corruption against me. No man of sense and 
cabdor — at least, none that know me — ever could or did countenance it. 
Your frank admission that you would have voted as I did between Mr. 



* The letters in this memoir that passed between Mr. Crawford and >Ir. Clay nre 
eopied from the Private Correspondence of Henry Clny, edited by the late Dr. 
Colton. 



240 BENCH AND BAR OF GSORQIA. 

Adams and General Jackson accords with the estimate I have always 
made of your intelligence, your independence, and joar patriotism. Nor 
am I at all surprised or dissatisfied with the expression of jour opinion 
that I erred in accepting the place which I now hold. When two courses 
present themselves in human affairs, and one only is pursued, experience 
develops the errors of the selection which has been made. Those which 
would have attended the adoption of the opposite course can only be a 
matter of speculation. Thus it is in the case referred to. We see, or 
think we see, distinctly the errors of the alternative which I embraced. 
But are we sure that, if I had chosen the other, I should not have been 
liable to greater hazard or more animadversion ? The truth is (as I have 
often said) my condition was full of embarrassments, whatever way I 
might act. 

My own judgment was rather opposed to my acceptance of the Depart- 
ment of State ; but my friends and (let me add) two of your best friends 
rMr. McLane, of Delaware, and Mr. Forsyth) urged me strongly not to 
aeclinc it. It was represented by my friends that I would get no credit for 
the forbearance, but that, on the contrary, it would be said that that very 
forbearance was evidence of my having made a bargain, though unwilling 
to execute it. The office, they thought, was an office of the nation, not 
of the actual Presidential incumbent -, and I was bound to look to the 
good of the country, and not to regard any personal objections which I 
had to him. "Can you, who have contributed," said they, " to the elec- 
tion of Mr. Adams, decline the Department of State ? Will you not be 
charged, if you do, with having co-operated in the election of a man of 
whom you think so ill that you will not serve in one of the highest places 
in the public councils with him ? £ven if he should be wanting in any 
of the requisite qualifications for the station to which he has been 
elevati^d, you arc the more bound for that very reason to accept, in order 
to endeavor to guard the country against any danger from his mal- 
administration. Your enemies have sought by previous denunciation to 
frighten you. They do not believe that you have acted otherwise than 
from motives of the purest patriotism; but they wish to alarm you and 
prevent you from entering the Department of State." 

These and other similar arguments were pressed on me ; and, after a 
week's deliberation, I yielded ta their force. It b quite possible that I 
may have erred; and you may oe right in predicting, as a consequence 
of my decision, that, being identified with Mr. Adams's administration, 
if he falls I shall fall. Should such be my fate, I shall submit to it, I 
hope, with the fortitude of a philosopher, if not with the resignation of 
a Christian. I shall at least have no cause of self-reproach ; for I will 
undertake to affirm (and I appeal with confidence to Him who knows best 
the human heart for the truth of the affirmation) that, throughout my 
public life, in the many trying situations in which I have been placed, 1 
have been guided exclusively by the consideration of the good of my 
country. You say that I ought to have foreseen that Mr. Adams's ad- 
ministration could hardly fail to be unpopular. I certainlv did not fore- 
see that the tree would be judged of otherwise than by its fruits. Bpt 
the popularity of a particular course or proceeding (although I will not 
pretend that I have been altogether regardless of it) has not been the 
deciding motive with me o^ my public conduct. Is the measure right ? 
Will it conduce to the general happiness and the elevation of the national 
character '/ These have been always my first and most anxious inquiries. 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 241 

I had fears of Mr. Adams's temper and disposition, but I must say that 
they haye not been realized ; and I have found in him, since I have been 
associated with him in the Executive Government, as little to censure or 
condemn as I could have expected in any man. Truth compels me to 
say that I have heartily approved of the leading measures of his admi- 
nistration, not excepting those which relate to Georgia. I have not time, 
if I had ability and it were necessary, to vindicate them. But, my dear 
sir, I must invoke your frankness and justice to reconsider the only 
exceptionable measure which you have specified, — that of his recom- 
mendation of light-houses to the skies. It is not the metaphor, I pre- 
sume, but the thing, (an observatory,) which has provoked your censure. 
And can you justly censure Mr. Adams for a recommendation which 
almost every previous President has made ? If there be no power in the 
General Government to authorize the erection of an observatory within 
the limits of a State, is there none to sanction its location in this Dis- 
trict ? The message; I believe, was silent as to the place where it should 
be built. 

But I will dwell no longer on public affairs. I should not have touched 
the topic but for your friendly allusion to it. I turn from it with pleasure 
to the recollection of our amicable relations. Whatever you may have 
thought, or may have been sought to be infused into your mind, my 
friendly feelings toward you have never ceased j and, although our corre- 
spondence has been interrupted four or five years, I have always enter- 
tained a lively solicitude for your welfare and availed myself of every op- 
portunity to inquire particularly about your health and situation. I have 
heard with unaffected pleasure of the improvement of your health. That 
it may be perfectly re-established, and that you may be long spared for 
the benefit of your family and the good of your country, is the sincere 
wish of your faithful friend and obedient servant, H. Clay. 

These two letters do equal credit to both gentlemen, and show 
the sincerity of their friendship. Besides, they are illustrative of 
the times to which they refer, and, for that purpose, are historical. 

The merry criticism pronounced by Judge Crawford on that 
part of Mr. Adams's first message which relates to light-hotcsea to 
the skies induced the author to search for it, and, if palpably un- 
warranted, to join in the condemnation rather than make defence. 
The author confesses that he never was an admirer of Mr. Adams 
as a politician or as a Chief-Magistrate ; yet he will do him perfect 
justice in this matter, even at the expense of Judge Crawford's 
generally accurate views. The following is the recommendation 
assailed by Judge Crawford from President Adams's message of 
December 6, 1825 : — 

Connected with the establishment of an university, or separate from 
it, might be undertaken the erection of an astronomical observatory, with 
provision for the support of an astronomer, to be in constant attendance 
of observation upon the phenomena of the hesivens, and for the periodical 
publication of his observations. It is with no feeling of pride as an 
American that the remark may be made that, in the comparatively small 

Vol. I.— 16 



242 BENCH AND BAB OF QSORQIA. 

territorial surface of Europe, there are existing upward of one Huodred 
and thirty of these light-houses of the skies, while throughout the whole 
American hemisphere there is not one. If we reflect a moment upon 
the discoveries which, in the last four centuries, have heen made in the 
physical constitution of the universe hy the means of these huildinga 
and of ohservers stationed in them, shall we douht their usefulness to any 
nation ? And while scarcely a year passes over our heads without bring- 
ing some new astronomical discovery to light, which we must fain receive 
at second-hand from Europe, are we not cutting ourselves off from the 
means of returning light for light, while we have neither observatory nor 
observer upon our half of the globe and the earth revolves in perpetual 
darkness to our unsearching eyes? 

Whether the power be rightfully in GoDgress or not, the Con- 
stitution has been so understood since the time of Judge Crawford 
as to allow the erection of a National Observatory, which has done 
much for science, competing with similar establishments in Eng- 
land, France, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, in the discovery 
of new planets and other phenomena of the heavenly bodies, 
thereby rendering the name of Lieutenant Maury* — already fa- 
mous for his charts of the ocean — an honor to his country and 
his race, attracting the homage of kings and the wise men of the 
earth, who load him with their courtesies. The Observatory at 
Washington is nothing more nor less than the fulfilment of Mr. 
Adams's recommendation at the public expense, or, rather, to the 
public gain ; for the laws of nature are made subservient to com- 
merce, and commerce is the life of a nation. 

While in the Senate of the United States, Judge Crawford 
maintained the constitutionality of a national bank; and the 
benefits of such an institution were fully demonstrated while he 
acted as Secretary of the Treasury. The following letter is sub- 
mitted as his last on the subject : — 

WooDLAWNy December 5, 1831. 

Dear Sir : — Your friendly letter on the subject of the Bank of the 
United States has been received by due course of mail. The opinion 
which I formed of the constitutionality and expediency of the Bank of the 
United States when I was a member of the Senate was the result of i 
careful examination of the Couistitution of the United States, made with- 
out any preconceived opinions. That opinion is recorded in two speeches 
which I made in the Senate in the year 1811. Since that time I have 
had no occasion of reviewing the question. My opinion remains un- 
altered. 

I was Secretary of the Treasury more than eight years ; and, during 
that time, I had ample evidence of the great utility of the Bank of the 
United States in managing the fiscal concerns of the Union. I am per- 



* Author of •* The Physical Geography of the Sea," — a work of profound learn- 
ing and curious speculation : the ablest e^er published on the subject. 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 248 

suaded that no man, whatever his precoDceived opinions may be [can 
study the subject] without being deeply impressed with the expediency 
of the Bank of the United States in conducting the finances of the Union. 
The provision in the Constitution which gives Congress the power to pass 
all laws which may be necessary and proper to carry into effect the enu- 
merated powers gives Congress the right to pass the Bank Bill, unless a 
law most proper to carry into effect the power to collect and distribute 
revenue should be excluded by the provision. 

The opponents of the constitutionality of the bank place great stress 
upon the word ^^ necessary/' contained in the grant of power, and insist that 
no law can be necessary but su6h that without which the power could not 
be carried into effect. Now, this construction appears to me to be inde- 
fensible. It does seem to me that the words '* necessary and proper" 
cannot exclude a law that is most proper to carry the power into effect. 
Yet the unconstitutioDality of the bank can be pronounced only u{K)n that 
construction. It does appear to me that the framers of the Constitution 
never could have intended to exclude the passage of a law most proper to 
carry a power into effect because it might be carried imperfectly into 
effect by another law. My construction of the grant of power to pass all 
laws which may be necessary to carry the enumerated powers into effect, 
includes the power to pass all laws which are necessary and proper to carry 
the enumerated powers into effect in the most perfect and complete man- 
ner, and not in an incomplete and imperfect manner. 

I have not seen a complete development of the President's plan of a 
bank. It is possible that by his plan the transmission of the revenue 
may be effected ; but the safety of the public deposits cannot be effected 
by the President's plan. The advantage of this security to the public is 
incalculable. It ought not to be relinquished unless it can be satisfactorily 
proved that the Bank of the United States is unconstitutional. 

This, I think, cannot be satisfactorily shown. My speeches are re- 
corded, and can be republished if necessary. They contain the result of 
the best investigation I was able to give the subject. I am persuaded I 
could not improve upon it now if I had the means of investigating the 
. subject, which I have not. 

I am, sir, your friend, &c., 

Wm. H. Crawford. 

Charles Jared Ingbrsoll, Esq. 

Kothing more remains to be added respecting the public life of 
Judge Crawford. He was a man of mark, — one of a century. 
The author heard a gentleman* of distinguished ability and posi- 
tion in another State once remark that the Hon. Nathaniel Macon 
was asked to state who of the great men of his acquaintance 
excelled in strength of mind and simplicity of expression. His 
reply was in substance that he had been upon familiar terms with 
Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and with the members of their 
Cabinets, besides other men high in the public favor ; but for vigor 



* The late Hon. William M. Murphy, of Alabama, whose father was a near 
neighbor of, and intimate with, Mr. Macon. 



244 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

of intellect, and the power to present things forcibly to the mind, 
he was compelled to say that Mr. Crawford, of Georgia, was the 
greatest man he ever saw. 

Mentally and physically he was of gigantic mould. The author 
never saw Judge Crawford until his health was in ruins. His noble 
frame was palsied and unsteady, trembling as he walked ; yet he 
towered above all other men just as an old feudal castle looks by 
the side of common buildinf»s. The author was once in his com- 
pany at the house of a mutual friend* and witnessed his colloquial 
talent. lie never saw him afterward. 

A few passages from the workf of Gov. Gilmer respecting Mr. 
Crawford are selected : — 

He had arrived at manhood before his education extended beyond the 
rudiments of learning. His quick apprehension and retentive memoiy 
enabled him to master the Latin and Greek languages in the shorte.st pos- 
sible time, and to comprehend and enjoy with peculiar zest the beauties 
of the best ancient writers. He never lost his relish for Virgil, Horace, 
Cicero, Xenophon, and Homer. He continued to attend the examinations 
of academies and colleges to enjoy the pleasure of renewed acquaintance 
with bis old favorites. And yet he was above the vanity of display, and 
entirely free from pedantry. 

Again : — 

I was a member of Congress whilst Mr. Crawford was Secretary of the 
Treasury, and had frequent opportunities of observing his singular capacity 
for business, his contempt for pretences, his excellent memory, and the 
sagacity which enabled him to bring into the service of his department 
the best assistants which could be had for the performance of what was to 
be done. Rascals received no countenance from him, and when he was 
deceived he told them so and dismissed them. 

The improper use of lobelia by Mr. Crawford for an attack of erysipelas, 
through the advice of an unskilful physician, whilst he was temporarily 
absent from Washington (Mty, brought on paralysis, from which he never 
entirely recovered. The electioneering for the Presidency was then going 
on very actively. He was never sensible of the injurious effects of the 
disetuse upon his mind, and refused to withdraw from the canvass. 

Further : — 

He made a better judge than seemed to be possible to those who were 
familiar with his paralyzed state. His clear and conscientious sense of 
right, and extraordinary recollection of what he had known in early life, 
kept him in the straight course. 



* The late William H. Torrance, of Mille Igeville, in NoYember, 1833. Among 
the gentlemen present besides Judge Crawfoni, the author recoUccts the late JuJgt 
JStrong, the late W. W. Gordon, Esq., and CoL Seaborn Jones. 

t Georgians, p. 126, &c. 



WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 245 

He was violeotly opposed to the nullification movemcnti considering it 
but ao ebullition excited by Mr. Calhoun's overleaping ambition. 

In another place : — 

He retained his social temper and admirable conversational talents to 
the end of his life. He loved to tell anecdotes and told them well. He 
saw the knob and made others feel it. He was a capital laugher, and cared 
not a fig, when at his greatest elcvationi for artificial dignity. He was as 
affectionate to his children as a father could be, loving them heartily and 
learning them to treat him familiarly and confidingly. To his children, 
friends, and neighbors, he was what they liked best and admired most. 

The author regrets that he was unable to obtain as abundant 
materials as he desirecd, to do justice to the character of this 
remarkable man ; but he has gathered up a few fragments which 
he persuades himself will prove interesting to the public. While 
on his way to the courts of his circuit, Judge Crawford died in 
Elbert county, at the house of Mr. Valentine Meriwether, from a 
disease of the heart, on the 15th day of September, 1834, in the 
sixty-third year of his age. 

While struggling to overcome the poverty of his youth, and just 
as he was launching into professional success, Mr. Crawford mar- 
ried Miss Gardine, with whom he lived in great happiness. She 
and several children survived him. The Rev. Nathaniel M. Craw- 
ford, late President of Mercer University, and William H. Crawford, 
Esq., of Lee county, are sons of the Hon. William H. Crawford, — 
worthy inheritors of an illustrious name. 



NOTE TO THE MEMOIR. 

The electoral votes given for President in 1824 were 261, of 
of which Andrew Jackson received 99 ; John Quincy Adams, 84 ; 
William H. Crawford, 41 ; and Henry Clay, 37. Of the support 
given to Mr. Crawford, 5 electoral votes were from the State of 
New York ; 2 from Delaware ; 1 from Maryland ; 24 (all) from 
Virginia ; and 9 (all) from Georgia. In the House of Representa- 
tives Mr. Crawford received the votes of four States, — Delaware, 
Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. 

The following is a statement of votes cast by the Electoral Col- 
lege of Georgia for President and Vice-President of the United 
States, from 1788 to 1850 inclusive: — 



246 



BENCH AKD BAR OF GEORGIA. 



BLSCTIOirS FOB PBKSIDSNT. VOB TICS-PRSSIDniT. TORI. 

{John Milton 2 
James Armstrong 1 
Edward Telfair.: 1 
Benjamin Lincoln 1 — 5 

1792. George Washington, George Clinton 4 

1796. Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr 4 

1800. Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr 4 

1804. Thomas Jefferson, George Clinton 6 

1808. James Madison, George Clinton 6 

1812. James Madison, Elbridge Gerry 8 

1816. James Monroe, Daniel D. Tompkins 8 

1820. James Monroe, Daniel D. Tompkins 8 

1824. William H. Crawford, Martin Van Buren 9 

1828. Andrew Jackson, < _! **™ J°,\ ^ ^ 

l John C. Calhoun 2 — 9 

1832. Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren 11 

1836. Hugh L.White, John Tyler 11 

1840. William H. Harrison, John Tyler 11 

1844. James K. Polk, George M. Dallas 11 

1848. Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore 11 

1852. Franklin Pierce, William R. King 10 

1856. James Buchanan, John C. Breckinridge 10 

This table contains the names of two gentlemen who became 
very bitter in their enmity toward each other, — Mr. Crawford and 
Mr. Calhoun. Their feud originated in the Presidential canvass 
of 1824, and was increased by the disclosures from Mr. Monroe's 
Cabinet which led to the quarrel between President Jackson and 
Vice-President Calhoun, and to the dissolution of the Cabinet in 
1831. The details, or even an outline of this matter, to do all par- 
ties justice, would occupy more space than a memoir of this kind 
would authorize. 

When the Presidential election of 1824-25, took place, General 
Lafayette was in the United States. He had been a w^arm per- 
sonal friend of Mr. Crawford at Paris, and visited his sick-chamber 
at Washington, sympathizing in his affliction and anxious to see 
him in the place which the "Father of his country" dignified by 
his example. Gen. Lafayette and Mr. Crawford both died in 
1834. 

The following paragraph is from the pen of the Hon. J. F. H. 
Claiborne, formerly a Representative in Congress from MissiB- 
sippi : — 




WILLIAM CROCKER. 247 

Mr. Crawford was & luan of colossal stature and of massiTe intellect. In 
astroDomj or niathctnatics be would have been pre-eminent. No man in 
ibis or any otber country bad a more tborougb and ortbodox knowledge 
of political economy, and especially of finance. He spoke witb great 
cogency and wielded a luminous pen. A Virginian by birtb and educa- 
tion, be carried tbe political opinions of tbe renowned commonwealtb into 
Georgia, and, until he was stricken down by paralysis on tbe tbresbold of 
tbe Presidency, sbe never wavered from tbo true Jeffersonian faitb. Her 
subsequent career bas been one of inconsistency and error, until lately sbe 
bus taken ber stand as tbe Empire State of Democracy, — great in bar 
resources, great in ber moral and pbysical development, great in tbe ability 
and reputation of ber sona 



X. 

WILLIAM CROCKER. 

This work of biography is not confined to men of tbe greatest 
professional eminence, who attained office and honors as the reward 
of their talents. Many such are included. There is another class 
equally entitled to praise, — the laborious, faithful, and upright, 
who leave the impress of their virtues upon the community in 
which they acted their parts, — men who discharged all trusts with 
fidelity, and deported themselves with courtesy to the bench and 
to their professional brethren. It has rarely been permitted any 
individual who pursues the law to excel in all its branches. A 
man may be a good draftsman and conveyancer, and also a safe 
adviser on legal questions, yet not flippant of tongue, for want of 
self* confidence. He may investigate deeply and closely, preparing 
cases in the most complete manner, and yet be unable to argue 
them cogently before the court or jury. lie may be a skilful 
equity pleader, a master of equity practice, and still deficient in 
the principles and proceedings at law, where the rules of interpre- 
tation and the logic of the judges are so variant in the English 
and American courts that confusion instead of certainty is often 
the result of patient investigation, — a tangled web which requires 
the vigor of a Mansfield to cut by the merits of each case as pre- 
sented. Analogy is good, and precedent will answer when the 
reasoning applies, — no further. Though knotty questions are fre- 
quent and perplexing, yet their solution is often as much a plea- 



248 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

sure to the mind as victory in a cause. This, however, by way of 
prelude. 

His friends never claimed for him qualities at the bar other than 
sound judgment and unquestionable integrity, and to these Wil- 
liam Crocker had perfect title. He was born in Virginia, Sep- 
tember 1, 1777, and in early manhood came to Georgia, first 
settling in Wilkes county, where he taught school several years, 
and married Miss Mary Long, one of whose sisters was the wife of 
Elijah Clark, brother of Gov. Clark. He afterward read law 
under Judge Early, and, removing to Watkinsville, he was admitted 
to the bar in 1810, at a term of the Superior Court of Clark 
county, of which the Hon. Thomas P. Carnes was the presiding 
judge. The father of Mrs. Crocker was Evans Long, of Wilkes 
county, an officer in the American Revolution. 

In the mean time Mr. Crocker had undertaken the mercantile 
business, which, in a year or two, proved unfortunate. He then 
resumed his former occupation as a teacher, at which he remained 
but a short time ; for in November, 1810, he removed to Twiggs 
county, where his pecuniary troubles soon ended. He gradually 
obtained a good practice, much of it commercial paper, and in 
eight or ten years his march to prosperity was quite rapid. From 
1811 to 1815 the old dockets show that Moses Fort, the brothers 
Stephen Willis Harris and Thomas W. Harris, Eli S. Shorter, 
Robert Rutherford, Bedney Franklin, Seaborn Jones, Thomas 

Fitch, Christopher B. Strong, Adam G. Safibld, Donoho, and 

James S. Frierson, were regular practitioners in Twiggs Superior 
Court, and from 1815 to 1825, besides these, other lawyers 
attended, among whom were James Smith, Samuel Rockwell, 

Lucius Q. C. Lamar, Joel Crawford, Hepburn, Moffett, 

(the two latter killed in duels,) Burch, John H. Howard, 

Albert G. Clopton, Charles J. McDonald, William H. Torrance, 
Alfred Iverson, Charles Fenton Mercer Betton, Samuel Lowther, 
Zachariah B. Hargrove, Thaddeus G. Holt, Robert Augustus 
Beall, Samuel Gainer, Robert L. Ferryman, Robert A. Evans, 4c., 
— the six latter being resident attorneys of Marion, the county- 
site. This period of fifteen years embraces the practice which was 
most profitable to Mr. Crocker. 

The largest number of suits he ever brought to one term was in 
the spring of 1820, of Twiggs Superior Court. Of the five hun- 
dred placed on docket by all the members of the bar, two hundred 
were returned by Mr. Crocker, and the dockets show that he was 
concerned in the defence of about two hundred more, making four 



WILLIAM CROCKER. 249 

hundred cases requiring his personal attention at the same term of 
the court. Besides his commissions for collecting, and the stipu- 
lated fees for defending, the tax-fee of four dollars in each case 
where he prevailed was quite an object,— of which the profession 
is now deprived. 

In future the title of major will be applied, as he was known by 
that distinction when the author first became acquainted with 
Major Crocker, in November, 1824. He had formerly belonged 
to the stafiF of Major- General Ezekiel Wimberly as judge-advocate, 
with the privilege of wearing a rich uniform equal to that of his 
chief, except the two stars on the golden epaulettes of the latter. 
This office was next held by the eldest son* of Major Crocker, who 
removing out of the division, it was conferred upon the author by 
the same noble-hearted patron. This privity of rank will excuse 
the introduction of matter here which is connected with the sword 
worn by the judge-advocate, and which veritable sword is now to 
be followed a while in a curious direction. 

In March, 1825, while General Lafayette was making his trium- 
phal tour through the Southern States, a company was formed, 
called the "Lafayette Volunteers,'* of which John G. Slappey was 
elected captain, Theophilus M. Chamberlain first, Hamilton R. 
Dupree second, and Francis W. Jobson third lieutenant, and the 
author was appointed orderly-sergeant. The other subordinates 
he does not recollect, as the muster-roll is not at hand to refresh 
his memory. This corps adopted a cheap uniform, and, with drum 
and fife, and a beautifully-painted white silk flag, presented by the 
ladies, it took up the line of march for Milledgeville, having as a 
much-venerated charge three Revolutionary soldiers. Fathers Wil- 
liam Dufiel, John Shine, and Charles Raley, in a conveyance pro- 
vided for the occasion. When the troops reached Marion from 
Tarversville they halted an hour or two, in which time the orderly- 
sergeant availed himself of the courtesy of a friendf to obtain a 
Bword to render him more worthy of respect in his official charac- 
ter. That sword belonged to Major William Crocker, and was 
Boon destined to figure in a scene fully as romantic, in a military 
point of vieWy as any that this poor world ever afibrded. Some 
particulars touching the reception of Gen. Lafayette, the public 
dinner on Capitol Square, and a few other incidents, will be first 
given. 



* Elijah E. Crocker, Esq. 

f John L. Jones, E^jq., now of the city of MACon. 



250 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

The Lafayette Volunteers had reached a hill near Fishing Creek, 
within sight of Milledgeville, when the roar of cannon announced 
the arrival of Gen. Lafayette. An express was sent to tender our 
command to the marshal in the ceremonies of reception. The 
reply was that the great reception and review would be the next 
day, at 10 o'clock, when our presence would be very acceptable. 
This was in the afternoon. Wishing to show ourselves, and to get 
a glimpse of the '' Nation's Guest," we marched into the town and 
halted opposite the Government House, where General Lafayette 
was quartered. Our captain went in and was introduced by Gov. 
Troup ; then the captain introduced the three Revolutionary vete- 
ran!? to Gen. Lafayette, who, on seeing Father Duffel, cordially 
embraced him, saying, " I remember you, — I remember you well. 
You were one of my body-guard, and helped carry me from the 
field when I was wounded at Brandywine. I am happy to see 
you, — very glad to see you," or words to that effect. (Father 
Duffel had previously told us of this service he rendered the 
'^ marquis," as he called him.) The grateful meeting over, the 
company returned to camp, first conducting our aged friends to 
the boarding-house of Captain Solomon Betton, where they and 
the officers took lodging. 

Early the next morning all was life and motion. Before the 
appointed hour, some eight or ten military companies, from Wilkin- 
son, Hancock, Jones, and the adjoining counties, were to be seen 
marching to the review-ground. The Lafayette Volunteers, from 
Twiggs, had paraded two or three principal streets with music and 
banner, when the intendant, Peter F. Jaillett, Esq., came out of 
his house and saluted our flag. We halted and returned the proper 
civilities. He expressed his admiration of our beautiful flag and 
bade us welcome to the city. 

In a short time the marshals of the day, John S. Thomas, Reva- 
reus L. Buchanan, and one or two others, mounted on elegant 
chargers, with sword and sash and rosettes gracing their persons, 
and with baton in hand, dashing in all directions, made known the 
order of the day. The several companies took the positions as- 
signed them, all under the chief command of Major-Gencral Daniel 
Newnan, who, with his military boots and rich uniform, made 
quite a splendid appearance. Captain Scott, of the Baldwin 
Cavalry, was the next figure that attracted special notice. 

The line being formed two deep, stretching several hundred 
yards, the cannon at the arsenal began to thunder, when a fine 
barouche, drawn by four horses, was seen advancing up the line in 



% 



WILLIAM CROCKER. * 251 

front, with Governor Troup, and Gen. Lafayette seated on bis 
right. The major-general and other oflScers entitled to the privi- 
lege presented swords in salutation of the '^ Nation's Guest." The 
author has a very distinct recollection of the physiognomy, the 
beaming smile, of Gen. Lafayette, as he sat in the barouche with 
his hat off, bowing as he passed the different companies and as the 
standards waved a salute. That was a proud demonstration of 
gratitude, and the illustrious man to whom it was given felt it, as 
his glistening eye and rapt countenance clearly revealed. What 
other movements, if any, took place, the author cannot, after a 
lapse of more than thirty years, undertake to say. • He believes 
nothing else was done after the review closed until dinner. 

Two tables, about one hundred yards long each, with cross-tables 
of fifty feet at the ends, were covered with barbecue, roast-beef, 
bread, and other edibles for the military. At the upper end, in 
the centre. Gen. Lafayette was placed, with Gov. Troup on one side, 
and his aid. Col. Seaborn Jones, (the master of ceremonies,) on the 
other side of the *' Nation's Guest." Gov. Troup's staff, including 
Col. Henry G. Lamar, Col. Samuel A. Bailey, Col. Yelverton P. 
King, Col. John W. A. Sanford, Col. Samuel T. Bailey, and per- 
haps others, were arranged at the same end of the table, all taking 
part in the administration of order, in the observance of proper 
etiquette, and some of them in reading the regular toasts prepared 
by the committee of arrangements. The band of music was a few 
steps in the oblong square formed by the tables. It played when- 
ever Col. Jones waved his hand as a signal. The author was some 
thirty paces from Gen. Lafayette, but within good seeing and 
hearing distance. George Washington Lafayette, the son of the 
general, was pointed out. His bald head and the wig of his father 
gave the latter the advantage in youthful appearance. Col. Layou- 
sier, the private secretary of the general, who was also present, 
the author could not identify. There was quite an array of public 
characters, of men known in the history of Georgia, — among them 
Gen. John Clark, formerly Governor and again a candidate. 

The appetite being satisfied with strong meat, next came the 
wine, bottles of which, with wineglasses, were distributed on the 
tables so that every one could have a share. Then proclamation 
-was made by Col. Jones : — " Gentlemen, fill your glasses for a toast 
from Gen. Lafayette." The obedience was prompt. Not a growl 
was heard, not a frown was seen, at the command : like good 
soldiers, every man did his duty. The "Apostle of Liberty," the 
companion and bosom-friend of Washington, rose to his feet, and, 



252 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

in broken English which all heard with delight, he gave, " The 
Georgia Volunteers : the worthy sons of my Revolutionary breth- 
ren.*' Cheer after cheer resounded, the music struck " Hail to 
the Chief," the cannon uttered its loud rejoicing, and soon all was 
again quiet. " Prepare for a toast from Gov. Troup," was the 
next order. "With solemn and distinct enunciation, that Julius 
Caesar of a chief-magistrate gave forth, "A union of all hearts to 
honor the Nation's Guest, — a union of all heads for our country's 
good." Again the air was rent with cheers, the band executed a 
national march, and the cannon fairly jarred the square. The 
next order was to prepare for a toast from Gen. Clark. Until 
then the author had never seen this celebrated leader of a party. 
A tall, bony man, with an open, honest face, rose at table, and, 
with a shrill voice, gave " Count Pulaski : the gallant Frenchman 
who fell at Savannah." We all emptied our glasses in honor of 
Gen. Clark and his French count as though history had not been 
contradicted by the sentiment. Gen. Lafayette must have esteemed 
it a special compliment to himself for such renown to be transferred 
to his own country in presence of such a multitude of witnesses. 
Wlicthcr the mistake was accidental or otherwise, it did not detract 
in the smallest degree from the valor or integrity of Gen. Clark. 
At most it only signified that his youth was spent in fighting the 
battles of his country instead of being enervated within the walls 
of a college. 

While the exercises at table were going on merrily, two occur- 
rences near by created considerable excitement. One was the 
sudden swooning of Major James Smith, of Clinton, on discovering 
that he had been robbed of his pocket-book, containing between 
four and five thousand dollars in money: the other was more 
dreadful, because human life was the sacrifice. It appears that 
the man who loaded the cannon had got his shirt-sleeve on fire 
without knowing it, and, when he put his hand into the large box 
among the cartridges for another round, fire was communicated, 
and the whole lump — not less than twenty or thirty pounds of 
powder — instantly exploded, blowing him several feet up into the 
air and severely wounding two others connected with the cannon. 
There was a general rush of people to the spot. Never can the 
author forget the appearance of the poor man most injured. Ilis 
face, breast, and arms were burnt into a black cinder. His agony 
was inexpressible. In a day or two he died. The others recovered 
after much suffering. This melancholy affair created a painful sen- 
sation in the crowd, and perhaps hastened the close of the festivities. 



k 



WILLIAM CROCKER. 253 

It should be remembered that before the military companies 
retired from the square they were formed into line, when Gen. 
Lafayette, leaning on the arm of Gov. Troup, walked along (a little 
lame) and shook hands with every man,— officer and private, — 
Col. Jones officiating in the introduction. The author was men- 
tioned to him as Sergeant M , and the response was, " Sergeant 

M , I am very glad to see you.** This joy was expressed to 

all, and was more than reciprocated by all the volunteers. The 
hand of Gen. Lafayette had been grasped : that was glory enough 
then. It is still pleasant to remember ; but thirty years of hard- 
ship in the camp of life have rather tended to prove, to the author 
at least, that glory is not communicated in so easy and simple a 
manner. 

The main incident is now approaching. A splendid military 
ball was given in the Capitol that night, in honor of Gen. La- 
fayette. The author attended, duly equipped with sword: it 
looked official. The Representative and Senate Chambers were 
stripped of all furniture and formed into dancing-saloons. The 
company was indeed gorgeous. Epaulettes, swords, sashes, and 
other war-trappings looked terribly beautiful. And then the 
matchless array of ladies, skimming in the dance like fairies, — 
many of them. There was a full band of music in the gallery of 
each hall. Every thing had a classic air, particularly the generals 
and 8ergea7it8j — the latter claiming equality, at least for a few 
hours, in the republic of amusement formed by a junction of France 
and the United States for a limited period. That republic of social 
enjoyment was plain enough to interest great minds, and yet so 
magnificent that the feeble were astonished, — not excepting the 
orderly-sergeant of the Lafayette Volunteers. Now to the finale, 

Capt. Slappey, accosting the orderly in the ball-room, despatched 
him to head-quarters with a polite request to the first lieutenant to 
send the flag of the company, to be displayed as the Committee of 
Arrangements might direct, they having expressed a desire to have 
it for the occasion. But, before the plot thickens beyond explana- 
tion, let it bo here said that the flag was of pure white silk, very 
ample in its dimensions, with an eagle tastefully painted on one 
side, with the arrows and olive-branch in his talons, like other 
patriotic eagles, and a scroll in his beak inscribed " The Nation's 
Guest,*' and below this bird of Jove, "Welcome Lafayette.'* On 
the reverse side was a pile of cannon-balls, guarded by a large 
rattlesnake in coil, with uplifted head, flaming eyes, and darting 
tongue. The picture looked dangerous indeed. But, to relieve the 



254 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

mind of the beholder, the word "Liberty" appeared in blazing 
characters above the snake. With such protection, all knew that 
" liberty" was safe. And then, to make it doubly secure, the name 
of the company was painted below the balls and the serpent : — 
" Lafayette Volunteers, Twiggs county, 1825." Such was the flag ; 
and now the following: — 

The sergeant, with a touch of his hat, delivered the captain's 
message to the lieutenant. To account for the rigid punctilio of 
the latter, be it known that he was an Englishman, formerly purser 
in the British navy, and had great fondness for rank and cere- 
mony. Instead of ordering Ensign Walton to bear the flag, or 
intrusting it to the supposed fidelity of the sergeant, to be conveyed 
to the captain, the lieutenant declared that, as he was second in 
command, and the flag an emblem of honor which especially 
devolved on him, he would carry it in person to the ball-room. 
He took the standard in his hands, neatly folded the silk and 
secured it by the cords pendent, and then rushed out with the 
sergeant as an armed escort. Arriving at the door, he attempted 
to pass in, when he was stopped by the doorkeeper and his ticket 
demanded. "Ticket, sir? No ticket, sir, on public duty," 
shouted the lieutenant, in a voice of command. The doorkeeper 
mildly replied, " I have orders to admit no person whatever without 
a ticket. From the mnjor-general down, all have to present tickets 
to be admitted." " Well, sir, we'll see about that," sternly rejoined 
the lieutenant. Then turning to the sergeant, he said, sharply, " Do 

you allow this. Sergeant M ? Where is your sword ? what do 

you wear it for but to protect the honor of your flag ? Cut down 
this insolent doorkeeper at once and proceed to your captain. 
Never let it be said that your flag was insulted and you did not 
protect it at all hazards." The poor sergeant protested, "I respect 
your authority. Lieutenant Chamberlain, and know that it is my 
duty to obey orders ; but you should reflect that the doorkeeper 
also has orders which it would be wrong in us to force him to 
violate. We should rather commend than blame him for his firm- 
ness. I must decline using my sword against him." The retort 
was, " No argument, sir, no argument : there is principle in this 
matter above your conception, and I will maintain it to the last." 
Leaving the lieutenant with the flag at the door, the sergeant passed 
in and stated the difficulty to the captain, who sought Col. Trip- 
lett, one of the managers. They came to the door, and, after 
soothing explanations were made, the flag was committed to the 
custody of the captain, and by him transferred to the managers. 



s 



WILLIAM CROCKER. 255 

In the mean time the lieutenant declared his intention of watch- 
ing that flag all night, if necessary, until it was restored to his 
hands ; and, to enable him to do so, the sergeant procured a ticket 
for his superior, who had placed ten dollars in his hand for the 
purpose, — that being the price of each ticket to the ball-room. 
When it was presented by the furious lieutenant, the doorkeeper, 
with a look of triumph and respect, said, "Now, sir, you may pass 
in." The lieutenant immediately hunted up his flag, and saw it 
streamiug proudly from the gallery of the Representative-Chamber, 
a hundred eyes gazing with admiration on the rich material and 
the expressive devices upon it, — even Gen. Lafayette smiling as he 
looked upon it, saying handsome words to Captain Slappey. The 
lieutenant soon made his way to the gallery, where he sat hour after 
hour at the end of the flag-staff, guarding his treasure. He did not 
appear at the supper-table, nor was he seen in the dance or among 
the spectators below. The sergeant left the scene at twelve o'clock, 
his parting glance resting on his gallant superior whose peremp- 
tory order he had ventured to disobey at the door. An hour before 
day the lieutenant returned to Captain Betton's with the flag safe 
and sound, muttering about " Stupid set," "We'll see who is right," 
and other short phrases which the half-awake sleepers did not com- 
prehend. No court-martial arraigned the sergeant for disobedience 
of orders. He took the respoimhility for once, — whether from want 
of nerve to execute the command, or from good sense to evade it, 
does not become the author to say. The lieutenant died within 
two years afterward, a rigid disciplinarian, — intelligent, fearless, 
but unhappy, to the last. The adventure has been poorly related, 
and must take its chances for favor or contempt. 

Before the sword which has led to all this digression is returned 
to its rightful owner, a few words more of the expedition will be 
pardoned. 

While at Captain Betton's, enjoying his kind attentions and 
those of his refined lady, (a sister of General Charles F. Mercer, 
of Virginia,) the author saw Col. H. G. Lamar ride up in the uni- 
form of an aide-de-camp, and heard him request Captain Betton to 
make out his bill for the board of the Revolutionary soldiers whom 
he had entertained and send it to the Governor for payment by 
the State. The good old veterans were deeply sensible of this 
liberality ; and their trip to Millcdgeville, with so many pleasant 
things to remember, was among the few green spots in their pil- 
grimage to the tomb. 

On marching homeward, the company was supplied with refresh- 



256 BENGU AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

meiits as they passed Dr. Williamson's splendid mansion (formerly 
Robert Rutherford's) within a mile or two of Milledgeville ; and 
again, a few miles farther, when opposite Gen. Clark's residence, 
another favor of the same kind was experienced : Gen. Clark him- 
self came to the road and conversed familiarly with the officers and 
men, (about eighty in all,) most of whom received a personal intro- 
duction to him. This was the last time the author saw Governor 
John Clark, — a man so conspicuous in the political history of 
Georgia. 

Nothing special occurred until the company reached Meriwether's 
store, within four miles of Marion. There they saw a large col- 
lection of persons, many of whom were intoxicated and disposed to 
quarrel. Robert L. Ferryman, the lawyer, had just been seriously 
stabbed in the abdomen, and was lying in a room near the store. 
While Ensign Walton was in the act of mounting his horse, with 
the standard of colors in his hand, the horse took fright; and, 
holding on to the standard, the ensign became entangled in it, was 
thrown, and had his under lip and chin severely gashed. Dr. 
Slappey, (our captain,) an excellent surgeon, sewed up the wound, 
put on straps of adhesive plaster, and we continued our march, the 
ensign along with us. As we passed the house of Archibald 
Mclntyre, Esq., (the old clerk of the Superior Court,) a signal-gun 
was fired from his piazza, and soon he was in our midst, talking in 
his lively Scotch style, praising our soldierly appearance, and 
treating us to very substantial refreshments. A mile farther, the 
sword was returned to Major Crocker, with many thanks. And, 
if the incidents grouped in this narrative touching the Lafayette 
campaign possess any interest, that sword is entitled to the praise, 
whilst the orderhj-sergeant bids the reader farewell. 

There were two resident members of the bar, at one time part- 
ners in the practice, with whom Major Crocker came frequently in 
contact, — Col. Moses Fort and Robert A. Evans, Esq. Col. Fort 
had been many years elected to the Legislature from Twiggs 
county, — w^as a man of extensive reading, of strong, discriminating 
mind, and quite an agreeable speaker. He was by no means fond 
of office-labor, and much preferred fishing and hunting to drudgery 
of any kind, lie also had a decided propensity to his bottle ; and 
that was the only objection to him. He was a kind-hearted man 
and always ready to aid persons in distress. Still, owing to his 
habits of intemperance, he wielded no great influence in his profes- 
sion. In 1825, he was again elected to the Legislature but, ascer- 
taining that the Clark party, to which he belonged, had a majority 



WILLIAM CROCKER. 257 

on joint-ballot, he resigned bis seat witbin twenty days from tbo 
election, so as to become a candidate, and was elected Judge of tbe 
Superior Court of the Southern circuit. His old habits still clung 
to him, and he was often seen intoxicated on the bench. For some 
decisions he made in the great case of A. B. Ridley and wife 
against Joseph Blackshear, executor of Elijah Blackshcar, de- 
ceased, in Laurens, Col. Blackshear preferred articles of impeach- 
ment against him at the session of the Legislature in 1827. A 
committee heard evidence, made a report, and recommended his 
removal from office by an address to the Governor. A majority 
of two-thirds in the House of Representatives sustained the report ; 
but, the Constitution also requiring two-thirds in the Senate, the 
measure was lost in that body, although having an actual majority. 

Judge Fort served out his term of office in a somewhat improved 
manner after his escape from the Legislature. He was highly 
gifted, had nice sensibilities, and threw a flood of light upon any 
subject of conversation. Li the language of a gentleman''' well 
qualified to form an opinion, ''Judge Fort in his best days was not 
even the shadow of what he might have been." Several years after 
his judicial term expired, he removed to Midway, where he died. 
He was a brother of Dr. Owen C. Fort, who died in 1829, and also 
of Dr. Tomlinson Fort, of Milledgeville. Their father, Arthur 
Fort, was a signer of the Constitution of Greorgia in 1798. 

The other individual, Robert Addis Evans, was a rare curiosity. 
He was a native of South Carolina. His education was fair, and 
his mind of a subtle, penetrating order, capable of mastering the 
first principles of any science ; and yet he applied himself to nothing 
useful or permanent. He read Tom Jones and the Bible with the 
same desire of truth, played the fiddle, and then talked profoundly 
about the decrees of fate, abused all mankind one day as a worth- 
less pack, and the next day would give his last coat to a beggar. 
His mental and moral organization varied from that of other men. 
For a few hours he would take up a treatise on mental philosophy, 
and discourse on the wonders of the human intellect, upon the 
goodness of the Almighty in adapting it to all conditions and pur- 
suits. Again he would declare that all matter came by chance : 
there was no Supreme Agent to form or control it ; that man would 
perish as the brute, and it was ridiculous to say that he had a soul, 
a principle or substance within him that could never die; an 
existence after death was nothiug less than self-contradiction, and 

* Dr. Ira £. Ptipree. 
Vol. L— 17 



^ 



258 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

was fit only to soothe weak people. At another time, man was a 
noble being, full of the divine nature, immortal, and bound bj 
every obligation to love and reverence his Creator. Life was a 
state of trial to develop faith, to inspire virtue by constant tempta- 
tions and the peace self-conquest afforded. 

And in the social relations he was equally capricious, — ^to-day 
unfolding a happy scheme for the future of a young friend, advising 
kindly, throwing business in his way, guarding him with a parent's 
solicitude, and pledging eternal fidelity ; the next week all was 
changed : bitterness and disgust filled his soul and gushed from his 
lips whenever that young friend was mentioned : he was a simple- 
ton, had not a ray of intellect, was wanting in courage, and would 
soon be given up by his relations in despair. 

Then, as to the law, it was the great machine that wove happi- 
ness for mankind, adjusting their rights and securing equality and 
repose to all classes. It was reason personified, — a system of great 
and just principles, abstruse enough to tax the loftiest minds and 
yet so simple that all might see and admire its rules. At the next 
interview, the whole civil administration ought to be cast into the 
sea. It was a miserable cheat : there was no uniformity, no truth, 
in it. The crude ideas of judges who had neither sense nor con- 
sistency formed the substratum of the common law; and the 
statutes were known to be the work of the most consummately stupid 
portion of mankind. Look at A, B, and G, in your Legislature, 
who cannot tell whether Julius Caesar lived before or after the 
Flood, or whether Sir Isaac Newton did not discover the planets 
from Noah's ark, or whether Columbus was not killed in a duel by 
Aaron Burr. Blackstono laughs at this idea of men passing new 
laws who do not understand the provisions of the old. A few self- 
conceited demagogues and upstarts in the legal profession prepare 
bills, and then, by the aid of tJiese legislators^ who do not know the 
difference between civil and criminal process, vote them into statutes 
binding on the people at large ! Such nonsense is insufferable ! 

As the mood would strike him, the Legislature and the courts 
of Georgia were the most enlightened in the Union. Look at our 
judiciary system : it was a master-piece of wisdom and justice. 
Every thing started right, and there has been regular improvement 
since. Thus would he discourse, extolling a measure or an indi- 
vidual one day, and the next day he would demolish both by the 
caustic inflictions of his tongue. No one understood his mind, his 
heart, or his affairs. He was a strange compound, and died, as he 
lived, in perfect mystery. 



WILLIAM CROCEEB. 259 

Nor should a third gentleman be forgotten, who died much earlier. 
Soon after the battle of New Orleans, such was his admiration of 
the hero, that Robert L. Ferryman wrote and published, in pam- 
phlet form, " The Life and Public Services of Major-General Andrew 
Jackson.'* The whole was summed up by a declaration of the fact, 
which other historians have omitted to notice, that at the battle of 
the 8th of January, 1815, " the British took to their heels and 
sneaked off like egg-sucking curs!" 

These were competitors of Major Crocker at the bar of Marion. 
A few besides might be mentioned, some now dead, and others 
living, were it necessary for any special reason. One* of them 
has a place in this work who always held Major Crocker in the 
highest esteem. 

The property of Major Crocker had increased to a largo estate, 
■which enabled him to give liberally to his children as they settled 
in life. He was a prudent manager, even to the most rigid economy, 
yet provided a good education for his sons and daughters, and 
whatever was necessary to support their position in society. All 
of them formed advantageous matrimonial connections. One of 
his daughters, Lucy, married Samuel Williams, late of Stewart 
county ; another, Mary, married Allen Belsher, after whoso death 
she intermarried with Tomlinson Fort, late of Stewart; and the 
youngest, Frances, married James Solomon, and several years 
afler his death she became the wife of Hugh L. Dennard, of 
Houston county. The daughters are still living, all of whom have 
grandchildren. The sons of Major Crocker are Elijah Evans 
Crocker, who resides near the old homestead. Dr. William N. L. 
Crocker, of Macon county, formerly a Senator in the Legislature, 
and Peter Early Crocker, yet of Twiggs county. 

In person, Major Crocker was of the ordinary size, well formed, 
had blue eyes, fresh complexion, and a round, well-developed fore- 
head. He was very plain in his manners, which resembled those 
of a farmer, and was quite a favorite among the people, who honored 
him the more for his quiet, social deportment. He died at his 
residence near Marion, Twiggs county, June 22, 1835, at the age 
of fifty-eight years. 

* B. A. Beoll 



XL 

WILLIAM C- DAWSON. 

It is often the case that a man possesses a higli character and 
great influence in his own State without being kno^m elsewhere, — 
without any reputation which might be called national. Many 
such men are to be found, equal in merit to the more fortunate, — if to 
be known in a wider sphere in the annals of the Government be 
indeed superior fortune. The subject of this memoir filled a large 
space in the public eye at home and abroad; and it is the design 
of the author to produce testimony of the fact, as well as to 
exhibit the individual qualities of William C. Dawson, whose 
memory is dear to the people of Georgia. 

An extract of a letter received from a gentleman* well known 
and appreciated for his public services and private worth will be 
first introduced : — 

You ask me for some of the leading incidents in the life and character 
of the lamented Judge Dawson ; and you are right in supposing that I 
was intimately acquainted with him and could impart the desired in- 
formation. I knew him well : we were bom in the same county, and in 
the same neighborhood. We received the first rudiments of our educa- 
tion at the same school. He was my playmate in boyhood, my companion 
in manhood) and my co-partner in the practice of the law for many years. 
Judge Dawson was born January 4, 1798, in Greene county, and died 
May 5, 1856, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. 

He was graduated at Franklin College about the year 1816. Soon after 
leaving college, he entered the law-office of Judge Thomas W. Cobb, with 
whom he commenced the study of the law. He afterward attended the 
Law-School at Litchfieid, Connecticut, and there completed his law 
studies, — was admitted to the bar and settled in Greensboro' about the 
year 1818. Very soon he won for himself a high reputation as an advo- 
cate. In fact, he was considered one of the best jury-lawyers at the 
Ocinulgee bar. lie possessed the rare faculty of bringing his auditors 
into the ideal presence of every scene. 

He was Clerk of the House of Representatives of Georgia for about 
twelve years, and this post he held during a time of great party excite- 
ment. Often during that period there was a majority against him : yet 
he was elected, such was his personal popularity. He was several times 
elected a Senator and Representative from Greene county in the State 



^ 



• Col. Yelverton P. King, long a member of the Legislature of Georgia, and late 
Charge d' Affaires to Central America. 
200 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 261 

L^slature, and subscquentlj a Reprcsentativo and Senator in Congress. 
At the time of his death he was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 
Georgia. 

Thiis, you perceive, he was often honored; and, I will add, he was 
altcays faithful. As a friend y they to whom he was attached will bear 
testimony that no human being ever more faithfully cherished and per- 
formed the duties of that relation; and those who had a right to regard 
him as such knew, absent or present, that he never was found wanting in 
readiness, fidelity, and zeal. The eloquent tribute inscribed by the poet 
OQ the monument of his friend can most truly be applied to Judge 
Da¥rson: — 

"Ennobled by himself, by all approved, 
Praised, wept, and bonor'd by the friends he loved." 

His manners were easy and prepossessing, his conversation various and 
gay. He was the life and soul of every company; and you truly said 
that he " never permitted any one to be dejected in his presence.'* To 
sum up all, Judge Dawson possessed all those attributes which constitute 
a generous, magnanimous, and high-minded gentleman. 

An event in the life of Mr. Dawson which greatly contributed 
to his success and felicity was his intermarriage with Miss Hen- 
rietta M. Wingfield, daughter of Dr. Thomas Wingfield. This lady 
possessed qualities of mind and hearty united with rare cultivation 
and refinement, which made her society a constant charm and 
gave home its sweetest attractions. 

To those old enough to remember the contest between Col. 
Greorge M. Troup and Gen. John Clark, sustained by personal 
competition for the State Executive, — first by the defeat of Col. 
Troup in 1821, then his election by the Legislature in 1823, and 
finally the seal of favor he received at the ballot-box in 1825, when 
the people of Georgia for the first time were authorized to vote for 
Governor, — it is unnecessary to state that Mr. Dawson was an active 
supporter of Col. Troup and his measures. The Indian treaty of 
1825, which arrayed Gov. Troup and President Adams on opposite 
sides, was triumphantly maintained by the wisdom and firmness of 
Gov. Troup, in the face of a high military commission of which 
Major-General Edmund Pendleton Gaines was the head. A few 
passages from the correspondence on that occasion appear else- 
"where in this work.* This controversy gave rise to the State- 
Rights party of Georgia, which received more or less organization 
in 1833, as may be seen in another memoir. f On several issues 
the party lines were established. Although there was some diver- 
sity of action relative to the writs of error granted by the Supreme 

* Memoir of William H. Torrance, 
f Memoir of Robert Augustus Bcnll. 



262 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Court of the United States to control the criminal jurisdiction of 
Georgia within the territory occupied by the Cherokees, both par- 
ties agreed in the most essential thing, — to resist by force, if neces- 
sary ; and the only dispute was, or appeared to be, as to the phrase- 
ology which should be employed. 

The facts were briefly these. James Graves, a Cherokee Indian, 
had been convicted of murder and sentence of death passed on 
him in Murray Superior Court, in 1834. The offence was com- 
mitted in the Creek nation, which claimed to be an independent 
power. Counsel applied to the Supreme Court of the United 
States, and obtained a mandate from one of the judges to carry 
up the record and to stay execution of the sentence, — serving the 
Governor and Attorney-General of the State with notice of such 
proceedings. The Executive laid the whole subject before the 
Legislature, which was referred to the Committee on the State of 
the Republic, of which Mr. Dawson was a member. As a substi- 
tute to the report of a majority of the committee, Mr. Dawson 
offered the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 in his 
minority report, — which was rejected by a vote of 26 to 51. His 
speech on the occasion was reported in the Times and State-RighU 
Advocate^ a paper then published at Milledgeville, and edited by 
a gentleman"*" who has since acquired considerable reputation as a 
jurist as well as for profound research in almost every branch of 
human knowledge. From the Times of November 18, 1834, the 

following is extracted : — 

• 

The report and resolutions of the majority of the committee on the 
state of the Republic, and the counter-report of the minority, being the 
special order of the day, and both having been read, — 

Mr. Dawson moved that the Senate adopt the report of the minority in 
substitution of that presented by the majority. 

Mr. Wofford expressed a wish that before a vote was taken the gentle- 
man would favor the Senate with his reasons in favor of the substitute. 

Mr. Dawson then rose and addressed the Senate as follows : — 

3Ir. President : — In compliance with the appeal made to me by the 
honorable Senator from Habersham, I will attempt, as briefly as the sub- 
ject will admit, to state the reasons why I prefer the substitute to the 
original report and resolutions. It is, sir, undeniable that the substitute 
oflfercd by myself in behalf of, and under the direction of, the minority of 
the committee, contains principles of more importance to this country, 
and involving more the welfare and happiness of its people, than any other 
subject which could arise. They are the principles which distinguish 
the two great parties now prevailing in the State of Georgia, as well as 
throughout the whole of this great Confederacy. Since I arrived at years 
of discretion, and became acquainted with political characters and princi- 



^ 



* W'imam S. Rockwell, Esq. 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 263 

pies, it is known to all my personal and political friends that I have been 
an hamble but undcviating advocate of the Jcffersonian doctrine of State 
Rights and State Remedies, and I can conscientiously aver that no one 
act of my life has been in violation of them. I have said that the ques- 
tion is one of the most deep and vital importance. It is one involving the 
nature and character of our Government and our Constitution, and which 
becomes us all^ however widely we may differ, to treat with candor and 
solemnity. 

To come at once, Mr. President, to the reasons why I prefer the report 
submitted by the minority to that of tlic majority of the committee. In 
the first place, I would observe that the principles laid down in the 
former are those that were adopted by the Republican party at the forma- 
tion of the Constitution, and, as I hope I shall be able to prove, the prin- 
ciples advocated by those distinguished and patriotic statesmen and phi- 
losophers, Jefferson and Madison. They are to be found in the celebrated 
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, and they were the 
same that elevated 3Ir. Jefferson to the Presidential chair in 1801. From 
the foundation of this Government, down to the present day, two great 
parties have agitated the country. I shall not now stop to inquire if there 
be any points of similarity or shades of difference between the parties now 
in conflict and those of 1798 ; but a brief review of the questions then 
at issue will the better enable us to form a correct conclusion. No sooner 
was the Government of the United States constituted, than two great par- 
ties immediately sprung up, — one in favor of a strong National or General 
Government, whose efforts, aided by inference and construction of the 
Constitution, tended to consolidation and monarchy. These were denomi- 
nated the Federal party. Those who went for the maintenance of the 
Government by a strict construction of that document were said to belong 
to the Republican, or people's party. The history of our Government 
sufficiently proves this. Until the year 1798, the former party had the 
ascendency, — when those apostles of liberty, Mr. Jefferson and Mr. 3Iadi- 
8on, stood forth as the friends of strict construction, resolved to secure the 
limitations of the Constitution and preserve the rights of the States. 
When those efforts were made, what was the condition of the country ? 
I see before me men of venerable age, who well recollect our condition 
at that time, and who can testify to the truth of the picture. We had 
just gained our independence, after a struggle of severe hardship and long 
duration : we were then in a state of peace and tranquillity; and the people, 
requiring ease and repose, as an inevitable consequence sunk, for a time, 
into supineness and negligence. Soon, however, oppression was seen to 
march with rapid strides. The Federal party began to usurp powers 
unheard of before, and the liberties of the people were again at stake. 
The people then rallied, and against whom ? Why, sir, against the Fede- 
ral party. And for what purpose, Mr. President ? To restore the coun- 
try to its Republican simplicity, and to secure on a more solid basis those 
sovereign rights of the States which had been threatened with ruin. In 
order to restore the Government to its former simplicity, and give to the 
Republican party that ascendency which was necessary, Mr. Jefferson 
became the leader of the Democratic party. Then it was that the con- 
trcjversy assumed a tangible shape ; for, though its advances had previously 
been rapid and powerful, they had been cautious and almost silent. This 
was in the year 1798. Is not this the plain historical truth ? I fear- 
lessly call upon those who advocate a different doctrine to say if I have 



2u4 LEXCII AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

honiu orifJ. Well, sir, the priiK-iplos thou contended for by those two 
;.'ro::t men have been roeujrnisuJ as the principle.** iu the Republican party 
of these Tnitod States, and it will be s-ien that the substitute is not only 
in strict accordance with the spirit of the Viririnia and Kentucky Rcsv^lu- 
tions, but the lirst five of them are almost exact transcripts. Is there au 
honorable Senator of this House who will attempt to coutruvert these 
celebrated resolutions ^ None would be so hardy. Well, then, whcnci.' 
can ai'i>e the oppi»sition to the substitut*' uftercd by the minority of the 
committee, airreein;; as it does, both in spirit and in laniiuaire. with tho>e 
resolutions '! If those who have avowed themselves adv«»cates of the 
JetVersonian doctrines are consistent, then do 1 look for their support of 
the re>olutiiuis proposed by myself 

Then, sir, what is the sum and substance «»f these resolutiuus? It is 
that this (leneral Government is a iriivornment of deleirited powers, and 
entitled to no other powers than those di letruled to it, and that the States 
have certain rights. Here arises the i:rand question at issue: — What are 
those rights, and how are thev to be exereised'/ These resolutions 
declare tlicir riirht to interjiose and pr^'tcct the pciple from the eucruacb- 
mcni of any undelegated power and to pr-iKunce any such attempts 
uncoiisntutional. null, and \\*'u\: that the pe«.]ile of a State, or, in other 
Words, the Stale herself, ^hall be the judue of the cuustitutioualitv of a 
law and whether it be usurpation or not: and that the States have the 
riixlit tv» judire of the mode and the nieiisure of redress. I call upon ucn- 
tlen:eu who differ iVom n;e — and dare tluni to the inve.>tiiration of the 
resi>l;iiions ot' 17i*> and ITl*'.'- to say whether these ^entiment."^ are not 
in >irici accordance with those of Jefferson and Madison, and whether 
they do n«'t enibotly the Uepubiiean doetriues of 1>01. Are ihov not 
thvi>e upon which the two {ir^at pariii^ ..:* IVdend and State-Rights con- 
tend tiiat thv'v are still divided"' 1." I am inc "rrect in what I have 
stati'd. there is amvle tistiv.ionv at h.j:..i tj \k:t.t niv errors : but. sir. 
hvWi\er tVcMe I mav be as an :;d\'e;.:i. 1 el;»:m t:ie merit at lea>t of 
ketpini: within the l«i..und> vf iii>i.ric;.l iriith. The issue is now as it 
wa> tli'. n: :i\u\, ili.-ujh sl....li.-> ..■. vorl'..! ■.'.iilorviivC may see:a to exi^l. ii 
i> a w;;i* I-etwe. !i t:..- >;'.:p.,- v" i.!-.-:'..!::!-^ j ::::e: :■■:•<. 

NVhiM the ViiLiir.ia and K. i;:n-.ky Ki- l',i:i'!:s wrre sent to the various 
S:ate l.rLi>ia;ure>. all li.-^e ii.-rth ■■! :» ^.triair. Lue deviared them to he 
danuiTvUS to the li»'\crr.!:;iiit ».:' :i.r r:;i:td Siaie-i. M;bYer'»ive ««f the priu- 
eiplo in which it w.is b;iM.i. a:!.'. lh;.t ti.c l\iL:.i! Cn-iiiuti -n adiijitied 
of no >nsh c\•n^:rncI:^ i;. T:., '.: :'..e is>ui V-. t'.v-, on t!ie redeniliNts. or 
friends of an in:Vrenti:.i c.i.sirv.i ::■. :j if tho e.-..ip;ici. .■'.nd the Riiiub- 
Iie;uis. or iVieiuis of a >:riv: ». .::>:ra. :i. ::. was frirly broujht before the 
American people. TV..' jv j.c, si:. w-;.i:i i:.. : it.i iiwiiv by interested 
denK;i:o:;«es. but >-.!yiri\i : r;::-.. :. wiii :.!w.:vs I. ri_:Li. Thiv were so 
then, and the rt^ui; was th: v'.i.ti :: . :" .^1.-. fUnVrs n t.^ the rresiiency. 
Then was the ir:i;r..vh ^ :' tht R-. ; v.l/..:i'.: -.'.. i.:r:!iis ::CCo:i:p';ished: and 
froj.i that dav ? ■ il'.e : fiM:'.: :':.i >..-.:. ^ v:ir:i;.> ':..t\c ^\:.:i:iuvd in conflict 
undr;- >%'nu- f.T'.;; vT ithir. ::.. k:.\.: v..:i. .:..:> t^::;^ .niv in name>. with 

I hold in ni\ h.iv.d ::.e V..::. .i ..v.*. Kt :.:■.:•. kv l^.^ l-.nions of 1 TV'S 
* . . * . 

fro'.n whuh the tirs: : v.t '.v. ::., s,:": ?:::;i:i . :" ::.v :..::; ritv of the com- 
luilteo aix' t.ixcn. au.i I *..'/. •.;•. . . ::..>: ^^ ::'.i ■..::. vv. . ir.iess thomselvo3 

lo belong to the K*i;;l- '.:»..:: : ..r:v :v >,. . v»':.i::..: ;:.vv will n-.'W ;,bandou 

• » • • • . * 

lllv pi..,4.|ki>^...«.t><ii>4 •■••••«.■. .■•« .......> .»-. .M-i^iLa^L .1.1.11 pu'Ud 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 265 

of liberty, Madison and Jefferson, and the principles which, we have 
been taught, were those alone which could secure the stability of our 
Union and the perpetuity of our great Confederacy. 

[Here Mr. Dawson read the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions 
which appeared in the report of his speech.] 

Well, then, sir, we have seen that Virginia advocated those doctrines ; 
and we shall see that the State of Georgia, with sonic few alterations, fol- 
lowed in the wake. In 1802 occurred the well-known case of (Jhisholm, 
when the State of Georgia was cited before the Supreme Court, and all 
the judges, with the exception of Judge Iredell, declared the Supreme 
Court had jurisdiction. A brief history of that case is this : — 

In the year 1792 the United States Marshal served copies of a 
process from the Supreme Court on the then Governor of the State of 
Georgia and the Attorney-General of the State, at the instance of one 
Cbisholm. After the meeting of the Supreme Court, the then Attorney- 
General of the United States moved, "That, unless the State of Georgia 
shall, after reasonable notice of this motion, cause an appearance to be 
entered in behalf of said State on the fourth day of the next term, or 
shall then show cause to the contrary, judgment shall be entered against 
the said State, and a writ of inquiry of damages awarded." At the 
February term, 1793, the case was called up, and a protest of the State 
of Georgia (sent by the authorities of the State) was presented, denying 
all jurisdiction by the United States courts, and absolute/^ re/using to 
enter into any argument or to answer in any other way. 

The case was then argued ex parte, and the court did decide against 
the State of Georgia in favor of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. 
On the question oi jurisdiction all the judges agreed except one, (Judge 
Iredell,) who maintained — and independently — the States to be creators and 
superiors of the General Government, and happily elucidated the distinction 
between a sovereign State and a mere corporation. Judgment was then taken 
bj default against Georgia, and additional notices of the proceedings of 
the court served. To none of these proceedings did the sovereign State 
of Georgia yield. She disobeyed and disregarded ; she interposed her 
sovereignty ; or, if gentlemen prefer or will not be frightened, I will say 
Georgia nullifed. At February Term, 1794, of the Supreme Court, 
judgment was rendered against her by default, and a writ of inquiry 
ordered. Was this writ ever executed ? No, sir. See 2 Dallas's Ke- 
ports, 419, where this case is reported. Thus Georgia set this decision 
at naught; she defeated it; and therein, by an act of nullification, avow- 
ing her determination to resist the mandate, she did not appear. What, 
sir, was the consequence ? Was there any disturbance ? Was there any 
convulsion ? Was there any bloodshed, any war, any pestilence i? No, 
sir. In spite of the position assumed by the Supreme Court, — which 
took an ex parte proceeding, and had judgment entered against the State, 
— what did Georgia do? She declared the jurisdiction null and void and 
refused obedience. What, then, sir, was the consequence of all this if 
No war, sir, no bloodshed, no convulsion. No, sir. The people of the 
United States met and amended the Constitution, limited the powers of 
the Supreme Court, and declared that the Constitution could not be so 
construed as to give to that court the power claimed. 

The foregoing is not the whole of the speech delivered by Mr. 



266 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Dawson, a portion of it being reserved for another paper. The 
following editorial paragraph appeared in connection with the 
speech, and is here inserted to throw light on the issues of that 
day : — 

In the rcccDt debate in the Senate, we were much struck with the vast 
apparent differcDce between the orators on both sides. The gentlemea 
of the State-Rights party who spoke in favor of the substitute offered by 
the minority presented the doctrines of the party with so much eloquence, 
that we were not surprised at the apparent reluctance with which our 
opponents came forward to vindicate themselves from the inconsistencies 
charged upon them and proved so conclusively. The President of the 
Senate vacated hi^ chair to reply to Mr. Dawson. Standing so high in 
the confidence of our adversaries, and holding his office by their suffrages, 
we must believe the positions he advanced to be the tenets of the party to 
which be belongs. We listened with much attention to his speech, 
and for the life of us we could not distinctly perceive the honorable 
Senator's meaning, — doubtless owing nit her to our limited capacity than 
the orator's perspicuity. We understood him to say " that the people 
were the source of power," and from this axiom he deduced the conclusion 
that, as the agents of the people exercised the attributes of sovereignty, 
the sovereignty resided with them ; or, in his own words, " the Govern- 
ments created by them were sovereign." He afterward asserted that 
"the people could create any amount of $overr!(jnty they pleased I" — a 
task that, with all their admitted omnipotence, they would find it rather 
difficult to accomplish. The occurrences of the last few days have now 
clearly developed the creed which our adversaries profess. The positions 
maintained by their orators in the Senate are perfectly in accordance with 
the Federal doctrines so signally defeated in 1801. We feel ourselves 
forced to the conclusion that they are Federalists in theor}' and practice 
when the people can be deluded, but, when cases occur where the tUctptict 
sr/stem cannot be further practised upon, they abandon all they labor so 
hard to prove, and furtively attempt to appropriate to themijelves the 
practice of the State-Kights party, at the same time loudly condemning 
their principles. This delusion cannot be longer supported by those 
whose interest it is to deceive the people. Georgia, on the question which 
has called forth legislative interposition, is awake; the mask will be 
plucked from the features of Federalism, which it now conceals, and the 
independent freemen of this State will turn from their confidence those 
by whom they have been duped. The reaction is commencing even now: 
the brazen idol totters on its clay foundation, and a short year will see it 
shattered to fragments in its fall. In the next Legislature the State- 
Kights party will preponderate ; and if in the case of State interposition, 
where Georgia now stands ready to put forth her arm in defence of her 
rights, the doctrines of the Federalists shall weigh it to the earth, she 
will be nobly redeemed when the principles of the State-Kights party 
become (as they must eventually become) the principles of the State. 

In 1835, Mr. Dawson was re-elected to the State Senate. On 
the breaking out of hostilities in the Creek nation, in the spring 
of 183(5, he raised a volunteer company, marched at their head, 
and received from General Scott a separate command for special 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 



267 



service, the duties of which he performed to the satisfaction of that 
gallant soldier.* In the same year he was nominated for Congress, 
on general ticket, and was elected a member of the House of Re- 
presentatives to commence 4th March, 1837. A vacancy occur- 
ring by the death of General John Coffee, Mr. Dawson was elected 
to fill the unexpired term, and took his seat in Congress on the 
first Monday in December, 1836. He at once became a prominent, 
working, influential member, and was re-elected in 1838 and in 
1840. 

Such was his popularity — supposed to exceed that of any man 
in Georgia — that his political friends, after mature consultation in 
the usual mode, nominated him for the Executive in 1841, in oppo- 
sition to Gov. McDonald. But he was defeated by a majority of 
about four thousand votes, owing, unquestionably, to the perse- 
cution waged against him in the canvass on account of a vote he 
gave in Congress including tea and coffee in the tariff for revenue. 
For convenient reference, the author has collected the oflBcial votes 
cast by the people at each election for Governor : — 



1825. 

G. M. Troup, 20,545 

J. Clark, 19,862 







40,407 






1829. 


G. 
J. 


R. Gilmer, 
Crawford, 


24,204 
10,718 




34,922 






1833. 


J. 


. Lmnpkin, 
Crawford, 


80,861 
28,585 




59,446 






1837. 


G. R. Gilmer, 
W. Schley, 


34,178 
33,417 



683 



1827. 

J. Forsyth, 22,220 
Scattering, 9,072 



13,486 



81,292 

1831. 

W. Lumpkin, 27,805 
G. R. Gilmer, 25,853 



12,158 



53,158 

1835. 

W. Schley, 31,177 
C. Dougherty, 28,606 



•1,452 



2,276 



761 



59,783 

1839. 

0. J. McDonald, 34,634 
0. Dougherty, 32,807 



•2,671 



67,595 



67,441 



-1,827 



* See White's Historical CoUeotioiis of Qeorgia, p. 482. 



268 



BENCH AXD BAB OF QEOBGIA. 



1841. 

C. J. McDonald, 37,847 
W. C. Dawson, 33,703 



1843. 

G. W. Crawford, 88,713 
M. A. Cooper, 35,325 



•4,144 



71,550 

1845. 

G. W. Crawford, 41,514 
M. H. McAllister, 39,763 



81,277 

1849. 
G. W. Towns, 46,514 
E. Y. Hill, 43,322 



■1,751 



74,038 

1847. 

G. W. Towns, 43,220 
D. L. Clinch, 41,931 



■3,388 



•1,289 



89,836 

1853. 

H. v. Johnson, 47,708 
C. J. Jenkins, 47,168 



■3,192 



85,151 

1851. 
H. Cobb, 57,397 

C. J. McDonald, 38,824 



■18,573 



94,876 



.540 



«6,221 

1855. 

H. V. Johnson, 54,461 

G. Andrews, 43,721 10,740 

R. H. Orerby, 6,261 6,261 

4,479 

104,443 

Pending the election for Governor, Mr. Dawson did not resign 
his seat in Congress, as it is quite common among politicians to 
hold on to what they have until the better office is secured. But 
after the refusal of his fellow-citizens to accept his tender of service 
as Chief-Magistrate, he resigned, from a proper feeling of delicacy 
and self-respect, construing the vote against him as a disapproval 
of his course in Congress. 

After his withdraw^al from public life, Mr. Dawson gave himself 
up to his profession, and was employed in the chief causes of his 
circuit. He was a very effective advocate, and, where important 
interests had to be litigated, he was generally selected as leading 
counsel. 

On the 1st of February, 1845, Gov. Crawford tendered him the 
appointment of Judge of the Ockmulgee Circuit, to fill the vacancy 
caused by the resignation of the Hon. Francis S. Cone. He 
accepted the office until an election could be had by the Legis- 
lature, positively declining to be a candidate. 

A new scene is now to open to Judge Daw8on,^-one which is to 
crown his eminently useful and agreeable life. At the session of 



WILLIAM 0. DAWSON. 269 

the Legislature in November, 1847, he was elected* a Senator in 
Congress for a term of six years, commencing on the 4th of March, 
1849. This is justly regarded as one of the most honorable 
positions in the Government. It was a tribute worthily bestowed. 
Of the part acted by Judge Dawson in the Senate of the United 
States, it is the purpose of the author to give an outline, by refer- 
ence to public documents and other reliable sources of information. 
Merely to show the form, the author gives the copy of a very 
proper credential : — 

State of Georgia. — ^Byhis Excellency George W. Towns, Governor 
of said State. 

To the Honorable William C. Dawson, greeting : 
AVhereas, by the third section of the first article of the Constitution 
of the United States of America, it is ordained and established that the 
Senate of the United States should be composed of two Senators from 
each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for the term of six years ; 
and whereas, the General Assembly did, by joint-ballot of both braoches 
thereof, on the thirteenth day of November instant, elect you, the said 
W'illiam C. Dawson, to be one of the Senators from this State in the Con- 
gn^ss of the United States, to serve six years from and after the fourth 
day of March, eighteen hundred and forty-nine : 

These are therefore to commission and authorize you, the said AVilliam 
C. Dawson, to take session in the Senate of the United States from and 
after the fourth day of March, 1849, to use and exercise all and every the 
privileges and powers which you may or can do in and by virtue of the 
said Constitution, in behalf of this State. 

Given under my hand and the great seal of the State, at the 
Capitol in Millcdgcville, this nineteenth day of November, in the 
year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-seven, and of the 
Independence of the United States of America the seventy- 
second. 

By the Governor : <^*=0*«^ ^- ^O^^^' 

N. C. Barnett, 

Secretary of State. 

All who were well acquainted with Judge Dawson know his 
industrious habits. The record, therefore, affords only what might 
be expected in this regard. The author has before him the Con- 
gressional Globe for certain sessions of Congress, and a summary 
is here given of the debates in which Judge Dawson participated 
in the Senate. At the session of 1850-51 he addressed the Senate 
on the following subjects : — 

1. On the bill for the relief of Irad Day. 

2. On the bill authorizing the State of Wisconsin to select the 
residue of a certain grant of land. 




♦ The ballot stood,— W. C. Dawson, 91 ; W. T. Colquitt, 86. 



270 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

3. On the bill granting lands to Louisiana and Mississippi for 
the construction of a railroad. 

4. On the bill for the settlement of private land-claims in 
California. 

5. On the Deficiency Bill. 

6. On the bill granting land for the benefit of the indigent 
insane. 

7. On the bill to remit duty on certain railroad-iron. 

8. On the bill explanatory of the bounty-land law. 

9. On the appropriation to pay the amount of a judgment to 
Manuel Harmony. 

10. On the proposed dry-dock in California. 

11. On the bill to assist the State of Louisiana to reclaim the 
swamp-lands within her borders. 

While the joint resolution from the House of Representatives 
was before the Senate making land-warrants assignable, Judge 
Dawson offered the following amendment : — 

And be it further Remlvedy That nothing in the first section x)f the act 
of 28th September, 1850, granting bounty-lands to certain ofiicers and 
soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United 
States, shall be so construed as to exclude any commissioned or non-com- 
missioned officer, musician, or private, whether of regulars, volunteers, 
rangers, or militia, who was mustered into the seri'ice of the United States 
for the suppression or prevention of Indian hostilities and served the 
length of time required by said act. 

At the session for 1851-52, Judge Dawson submitted remarks 
to the Senate : — 

1. On the resolution relative to the reception and entertainment 
of Kossuth. 

2. In regard to intercourse with France. 

3. On the bill for the relief of Margaret Hetzel. 

4. On the bill providing for the assignability of land-warrants. 

5. On the bill for the relief of Erastus A. Capron. 

6. On the bill for the relief of Thomas H. Leggett. 

7. On the bill for the benefit of Carmelite nunnery. 

8. On the joint resolution for the continuance of the work on 
the Capitol. 

9. On the public expenditures. 

10. On the bill granting to Ohio the unsold lands in that State. 

11. In relation to the proceedings of the Whig Congressional 
Caucus. 

12. On the bill authorizing a survey for a basin for the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Canal. 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 271 

13. On the bill granting land to Wisconsin for a railroad. 

14. On the memorial of the Society of Friends in relation to 
the Fugitive Slave Law. 

15. On the bill granting land to Michigan for a railroad. 

16. On the bill emendatory of the patent-laws. 

17. On the bill for the relief of Elizabeth B. Lomax. 

18. On the bill providing for an exchange of school-lands. 

19. On the bill for the relief of the legal representatives of 
James C. Watson. 

20. In relation to the North American fisheries. 
•21. In relation to the Census Board. 

22. On the bill providing for the election of a public printer. 

23. On the Apportionment Bill. 

24. In relation to printing the Census returns. 

25. In relation to the construction of a ship-canal around the 
Falls of St. Mary. 

26. On the Iowa Land Bill. 

27. Concerning the Expedition to Japan. 

.28. On the bill providing payment for the surveys of claims in 
California. 

^ 29. Concerning the establishment of a telegraph and mail- 
line to California. 

30. For the relief of the West Feliciana Railroad Company. 

31. On the Army Appropriation Bill. 

32. On the appropriation for the Collins line of steamers. 

33. On the appropriation to pay balances due the Creek In- 
dians. 

34. On the appropriation to indemnify the people of Georgia, 
Alabama, and Florida for depredations committed by the Creek 
Indians. 

35. On the Naval Appropriation Bill. 

36. On the proposition to regulate the appointment of mid- 
shipmen. 

37. On the appropriation for the Seneca Indians of New 
York. 

38. On the bill to increase the salary of the District Judge of 
New Hampshire. 

39. On the appropriation for the floating dry-dock at San 
Francisco, California. 

40. On the appropriation for the Indians in California. 

41. On the Civil and Diplomatic Bill. 

As Judge Dawson had the sagacity and boldness to differ from 



272 BENCU AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

a majority of the Senate in relation to Kossuth, the subject will 
be more particularly noticed. 

On the 3(1 day of December, 1851, the following joint resolution 
was taken up in its order : — 

Joint resolution in relation to the reception and entertainment of Lcfois 
Kossuth, Governor of Hungary, in the United States. 

Br it lK*soh*'Jj dr. That a joint committee of the two Houses of Con- 
gress, to consist of — members of the Senate and — members of the 
House of Representatives, be appointed by the presiding officers of the 
respective Huu^^cs, to make suitable arrangements for the reception of 
Louis Kossuth, Governor of Hungary, on his arrival in the United State*, 
and to communicate to him assurances of the profound respect entertained 
for him by the people of the United States, and to tender to him, on the 
part of Congress, and in the name of the people of the United States, the 
hospitalities of the metropolis of the Union. 

Judge Dawson addressed the Senate as follows :* — 

^Ir. President : — Perhaps it would be as well to meet the question at 
once upon the proposition to fill these blanks. I am not prepared myself, 
as a representative of one of the States of this Union, to adopt this reso- 
lution. As an individual, as a citizen of the United States, I am willing 
to show to Kossuth that respect which my judgment and my feelincirs may 
dictate; but in my capacity as a Senator I cannot consent to what is hero 
proposed. I know of no precedent in the history of our Legislature which 
would justify the adoption of this resolution. I have never known suca 
marked distinction shown to any distinguished citizen of our own country, 
whether a military man or a civilian. I see nothing in the character of 
this distinguished individual which should make the Government of the 
United States get up a great pageant on his account and distinguish him 
from all other men who have ever lived. Has he ever been connected 
with our institutions ? Has he ever rendered any particular ser\'ice to 
this country to entitle him to this mark of distinction ? Xot at all. It 
is true be is a great man, but he is not greater than many men who now 
live and have lived. His position is such as to call into exercise our 
sympathies for him and his associates as men. That sympathy this 
Government has already shown to an extent almast unparalleled, by send- 
ing one of the national vessels to receive him and his associates, if they 
were willing to come to this country. Have we not done enough to show 
our sympathies and our good feelings ? I think we have. Against the 
man's character and cause I utter not a word. The American heart 
is open for his reception. It is the people who will receive him. La- 
fayette, when he came to this country, was received in a manner which 
was justifiable on the part of the Government of that day, because he was 
connected with the Revolution which gave us the liberties which we 
enjoy. 

Several days afterward, when the resolution was again under 
consideration, Mr. Dawson remarked :t — 



♦ See Congressional Globe, vol. xxiv. part 1, p. 21. f Ibid, p. 71. 




WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 273 

Mr. President : — When the first resolution offered by the Senator from 
Mississippi (Mr. Foote) was presented, I briefly stated the reasons why 
I could not vote for that resolution. Since the discussion has commenced, 
the character of the proposition before the body has most essentially 
changed. It is due to candor, and to a right understanding of this sub- 
ject, before the nation and the distinguished individual whom we are dis- 
posed to honor, that we should understand each other thoroughly, — that we 
should know what were the expectations created in the mind of Ka«»suth 
when he received what is called the invitation to the hospitalities of this 
country. We have to ask him his impression of that invitation. We 
should know what expectations were created. We should understand 
them. We should understand his impressions of the obligations he is laid 
under. And that candor would compel us to investigate the understand- 
ing between the host and the guest. We tendered to him a national ves- 
sel to come to this country and seek an asylum, — or to come and receive 
hospitality, according to the interpretation of some. We did not intend 
to interfere with the domestic affairs of Hungary or any other country. 
We found him an exile, a voluntary captive, or under the hospitable pro- 
tection of the Turkish Government. We asked him here. He has come. 
On his way to receive our hospitality, he announced to the world the 
character of the invitation. He lets us understand what is his construc- 
tion of it : that he has come here, not merely for the purpose of receiving 
our sympathy, but to ask us to interfere between his country and foreign 
Governments. He asks us to declare that we will interfere, in the event 
that the struggle should recommence in Hungary against Austria. He 
tells the world that this is the object of his visit. And when he lands on 
our shores he tells us that he knew he had our sympathies ; that he and 
his countrymen had the sympathies of the world ; that it was not from 
mere sympathy that he crossed the Atlantic Ocean ; that he came here to 
have something more substantial. He wants to receive the pledge of this 
Government, that, if the hour of revolution should ever come again in his 
fatherland, the United States will stand by and see fair play, and that if 
any other nation on earth interferes, then the United States shall take 
part in the controversy. That is the character of the position he now 
occupies. He tells us that he expects the material of aid to protect his 
country. And what is that ? Men, money, and arms. That is his im- 
pression. 

Is it not, then, due to candor — do not honor and magnanimity require 
us — to announce to Kossuth that this Government has no such design ? 
Will you suffer him to come to the seat of Government with such expec- 
tations ? or will you state to him the character in which you expect to re- 
ceive him ? My colleague, (Mr. Berrien,) sensible of his position, and 
of the impression made upon the mind of this distinguished individual by 
the formal welcome to our shores, has introduced an amendment asking us 
to announce to him that he is mistaken, — that he is not to come to the seat 
of Government of this great nation under the expectation that this Go- 
vernment gives any pledge, or any assurance, that they will sustain him 
at any time. Why should we not tell him that he must not expect that 
yre shall afford him men and means as a Government ? As an honorable 
man, connected with another individual, would you suffer that individual 
to have wrong impressions in relation to the course you intended to pur- 
sue ? Would you not let him understand precisely what you intended ? 
Just so with nations. It is due from the Government of the United States 

Vol. L— 18 



274 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

to announce to this distinguished iudiTidual the object they have in view. 
I submit to honorable Senators whether tbey intend to justify the expecta- 
tions which Kossuth has announced he had in coming to this countrj? 
Will they allow the impression to be left on his mind that we are to fur- 
nish him with any material of war? I think not; although some Senators 
declare they will not express opinion one way or the other; that ** suffi- 
cient unto the day is the evil thereof;" when the occasion arises they will 
determine whether or not to interfere. This is the language of the Sena- 
tor from Illinois, (Mr. Douglas.) This is the language of the Senator 
from Michigan, (Mr. Cass,) and^ indirectly , the language of the Senator 
from Mississippi, (Mr. Foot€.) 

When the Senator from Mississippi read the speecb made by the present 
distinguished Secretary of State (Mr. Webster^ in 1823, it at once drew 
my attention to the state of this country at the time, and to the principles 
upon which the Republican party have stood from the days of Washing- 
ton down to the present hour. Then it was that revolutions were going on 
in South America ; then it was that our country had to announce to the 
civilized world the principles upon which we administered this happy 
government. Then it was, I would remind the Senator, that the distin- 
guished Mr. Monroe, who concentrated in himself, on account of his purity, 
both the Eepublican and Federal parties, announced what were the prin- 
ciples of this Government, and the principles which had been sustained by 
AVashington, by Adams, by Jefferson, and by Madison. I will show you, 
by reference to the message of 1824, what were the views of 3Jr. Monroe, 
and upon precisely such a question as this ; that is, the question of inter- 
ference with foreign Governments. 1 beg to read from that message, in 
order that this may go out with the speech which was read by the Senator 
from Mississippi. 

Mr. FooTK, of Mississippi. I wish to ask the gentleman whether we 
arc to understand him as concurring with Mr. Webster or Mr. Monroe. 

Mr. Dawson. If they differ at all, I concur with Mr. Monroe, though 
I do not think there is any difference of opinion. But I would ask the 
Senator, in return, whether in 1824 he would have concurred with Mr. 
Webster or. Mr. !Monroo. 

Mr. FooT£. If their views were the same, there is no necessity for 
that. 

Mr. Dawson. I read from Mr. Monroe's message of 1824 : [Only the 
closing portion of the extract in !Mr. Dawson's speech is here given.] 

^^ Separated, as we are, from Europe, by the great Atlantic Ocean, we can 
have no concern in the wars of the European Governments, nor in the 
causes which produce them. The balance of power between them, into 
whichever scale it may turn in its various vibrations, cannot affect us. 
It is the interest of the United States to preserve the most friendly re- 
lations with every power, and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to 
all. But in regard to our neighbors [the South American States] our 
situation is different. It is impossible lor the European Governments to 
interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, [easting off the 
Spanish yi)ke,] which are vital, without affecting us : indeed, the motive 
which might induce such interference in the present state of the war 
between the parties, if a war it may be called, would appear to be equally 
applicable to us. It is gratifying to know that some of the powers with 
whom we enjoy a very friendly intercourse, and to whom these views hav« 
been communicated, have appeared to acquiesce in them." 




WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 275 

Sir, (coDtinucd Mr. Dawson,) the * principles here laid down by Mr. 
Monroe have hcen laid down from the foundation of this Government : 
that we should not interfere in the affairs of European nations, that we 
should take no part in their wars, and that we should suffer no European 
power to interfere or intermeddle with the relations of this continent. 
What is sought now to be done ? I know that gentlemen disclaim the 
idea of interference ; that is, they do not intend to intermeddle in any 
of their strifes. But what is the proposition before us, stripped of the 
circumstances which surround it? Take away the verbiage and the 
rhetoric which have been thrown around it, and what docs the proposition 
amount to ? What does Kossuth expect from this country ? What does 
he believe your invitation is intended to signify ? From whom can you 
get this information but himself? He tells you, candidly, that he comes 
not merely for your sympathy, but for your material, — for your prouuncia- 
mento or proclamation that, in case Austria and Hungary again engage in 
bloody strife, you will stand by and see fair play ; and, if any other foreign 
power interferes, we shall take a hand in it. I defy any Senator to put a 
different construction upon the language of this distinguished man. Yet 
in a crisis like this in our own country, at a time just preceding the Pre- 
sidential election, when the foreign influence is tremendous, we are called 
upon to do this. I say it is wrong. There is a want of candor and a 
want of magnanimity in giving him a public rec^eption here, unless we 
tell him what we really intend to do, and what we intended at the time 
we invited him, and that when we opened our hearts to receive him it 
was for the purpose of throwing around him the protection of the Consti- 
tution and laws of this country. But when he comes hero he changes 
his character to that of an agitator, and proclaims to us. Gentlemen, I 
will dine with you : but I shall prescribe the character of the dishes which 
shall be on your table; I shall tell you what I expect when I come to 
sec you, and not have it to your own taste. This question comes home 
to our candor and magnanimity, not as politicians, but as men and statesn 
men. The consequences growing out of this question will involve not us 
only, but our reputation as a Senate. Is there a Senator here who 
would say to Kossuth, " We will give you the material of war at the pro- 
per time" ? But he says, *^ I came here under that expectation : I an- 
nounced that expectation : and still you asked me to come.'' He will say 
to you, as he said to the deputation from Philadelphia, that '' if he had 
known, before he came here, that this was the limitation upon the invita- 
tion, he would have hesitated long before he would have come/' 

Kossuth is acting with candor. He is carrying out that boldness and 
independence of conduct which has marked his career. Let us follow tho 
same example ; and, when dealing with a man of honor, of chivalry, of in- 
telligence and statesmanship, let us deal with him in candor, and not 
allow him to be led astray by our uncertain course. Hence it is that 
I have taken up my position in opposition to this resolution ; hence I 
oppose the resolution of the Senator from New York. What b meant by 
it ? The Senator from Michigan says. We welcome Kossuth as the repre- 
sentative of a great principle. Of what principle? Kossuth says it is the 
right of nations to interfere with foreign nations ; not the principle of non- 
intervention, but the right to interfere, when two contending powers are 
engaged in war, to prevent a third power from taking part. That is his 
principle, and he expects to be sustained. Now, will you receive him, and 
receive him publicly, without announcing to him what we mean, without 



276 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

letting him understand, as proposed by mj colleague, the principle wWcli 
we intend to pursue, — a principle coeval with the foundation of our Union? 
I ask pardon of the Senate for having trespassed so long upon them. 
I did not design to speak ; but I thought it necessary for me to do so in 
consequence of the position in which the question had been placed. 

The reader may see the various resolutions about Kossuth, and 
the final action of Congress on the subject, by reference to another 
part* of this work. 

Following the example of other Senators, who took occasion to 
notice on the floor of the Senate certain newspaper-allusions to 
them, Mr. Dawson, on the loth of April, 1852, asked the indulgence 
of the Senate for a personal explanation. He had seen in a New 
York paperf some unfair criticisms relative to a Whig caucus 
which he was charged with attending a few nights previously. 
His name occurred in the following passage : — 

What are the facts of this Whig caucus ? The North was there in 
strength. William H. Seward, Thaddeus Stevens, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, 
and other notorious ringleaders of the Abolitionists, were there, apparently 
the most eihcient members in the practical action of the caucus. Certain 
spirited and consistent Union Whig members from Kentucky, Tennessee, 
and North Carolina were there, boldly demanding an understanding with 
the North, as the first step to united action ; but they were overwhelmed. 
There was a debate of four hours ; but the question was deferred, and Mr. 
Mangum intimated that he should at the next meeting rule the motion 
for an undersUmding to be out of order. This is bad, and places Mr. Man- 
gum in a bad position ; and the apparent concurrence with his views by 
Messrs. Badger, Duwson, Jones, of Tennessee, Stanly, and some other 
Southern Whigs, places them in the same questionable attitude. 

In another article the same paper remarks : — 

Mr. Munguni would undoubtedly, upon a satisfactory platform, be a 
very popular candidate to run with Gen. Scott. Perhaps his colleagues — 
]Mr. Badger, of the Senate, and Mr. Stanly of the House — entertain the 
same opinion. It may be that Mr. Senator Dawson, of Georgia, has some 
aspirations for the Vice-Prcsideucy. At all events, the apparent willing- 
ness of all these distinguished Southern Whigs to take Scott and his right 
bower — Seward — upon trust, gives a bad aspect to the whole case, — the 
aspect of a final caving in to the most insidious and dangerous of all the 
enemies of the South. 

Only one paragraph of Mr. Dawson's explanation to the Senate 
is here given. He said, — 

Now, Mr. President, 1 did not attend that caucus, nor did I participate 
in its conclusions, either directly or indirectly; nor am I under any pledge 
to abide by the determination to which these gentlemen may come. My 
position, 1 thought, was well known. It was publicly announced, more 
than a year since, that I would support no man for the Presidency 
who would not support the measures, one and all, known as the Compro- 

* Memoir of the Hon. John M. Berrien. f The Herald. 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 277 

mise, openly and honestly, with no view to deceive either the friends or 
the opponents of those measures. Ht- nee I aver that I will act with no 
party which shall endeavor, either directly or indirectly, to open for agita- 
tion the questions adjusted by the Compromise, even for the purpose of 
securing votes at the ensuing Presidential election. Nor will I combine 
to elect any man to the Presidency whose opinions are not beyond doubt 
or cavil on i\iejinaliti/ of the Comproniiije ; nor shall I, under any circum- 
stances, act with any party that shall not have the firmness publicly to 
avow their support of the Compromise. Nor shall I commit myself .by 
attending the Whig or Democratic Convention, as at present advised. I 
desire to see our friends in the non-slaveholdinj; States bv their own action 
determine for themselves what is their true position in regard to tho 
agititing questions of the day. If the South is to have no quiet upon 
these questions, I want to know it. The South herself desires to know it; 
and if it shall be determined that agitation is to be continued, then, my word 
for it, there will be no division in the South : there will be, as there should 
be, but one sentiment, — that of union against unconstitutional aggressions. 

It is presumed that Mr. Dawson was content with the letter of 
Gen. Scott accepting the nomination for President, as he became 
one of his supporters, and exerted considerable influence in his 
favor ; though of course no man of intelligence was very sanguine 
that the vote of Georgia would be given to the brave old hero. 

But the leading effort of Mr. Dawson during the session was 
the speech he delivered in the Senate, March 1, 18;32, " on tho 
bill granting land to the State of Iowa in aid of constructing cer- 
tain railroads." As containing the facts and the arguments, a 
tolerably copious extract is given from the speech, as received in 
pamphlet form by the author from Mr. Dawson himself. 

Mr. Dawson said, — 

As new States are added day after day, they call for appropriations of 
public lauds, either by their Legislatures, or they wish to have them 
given to companies ; and, strange to say, we have appropriated millions of 
acres without the Legislatures of the States asking for the appropriations ! 
Senators rise and tell us for what purpose it is wanted, and under such 
mistaken apprehensions wc vote the appropriations. I am not now speak- 
ing of Iowa. I will look into Illinois. I am sorry that one of the Senators 
from Illinois [Mr. Douglas] is not now in his seat ; but many Senators 
who were with me on this floor when the Illinois Railroad Bill was passed 
will recollect that it was said that it would be four hundred miles long, 
from Chicago to Cairo; in other words, from the farthest northern 
boundary of Illinois down to its most southern on the Mississippi. Alter- 
nate sections were donated for ten miles in width. I opposed it then, 
on the ground of its injustice ; but I was not even aided by many friends 
from the old States. I then proclaimed the injustice of it; but I was not 
sustained. I saw that the rights of the old States were to be thrown over; 
and I saw what would be the result. The Senator from Illinois threw 
himself in for railroads yet in embryo, and took land lying six hundred 
and ninety miles along for a road, as I will show you. Upon that, I sup- 
pose^ he thought he would ride triumphantly right off to the White 



278 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

House; and he is driving there now. I do not wish to interfere with the 
geDtlcman's aspimtions, but I do not like to pay for his platform. 

I have a statement before luc, showing the lands granted under the 
Illinois bill. I cull upon Senators, and I call upon the countiy, to look 
this matter in the face, and see whether we, the old States, can pass these 
bills and do injustice to ourselves. Does any Senator on this floor know 
the length of the road from Chicago to Cairo for which we granted 
lands during the last Congress ? If 1 am wrong in my statement, I wi:ih 
to be corrected. For that road — which was unsurveyed, which was not 
located, which was not called for except by the imagination of Senators — 
from Chicago down to Cairo, instead of appropriating lands for the length 
of four hundred miles as was represented, we appropriated for six hundred 
and ninety miles, including the branches. We appropriated money — or 
land, which is its equivalent — for two hundred and ninety miles of rail- 
road wliich we did not know we were building. Yet you will not vote a 
dollar for a light-house, for a fortification, or for an improvement, in any 
of the old States, unless surveys have been made and estimates have b-^ea 
presented. Still, you will suffer Senators and others from the Northwestern 
country to come nere and take more in millions than you would grant to 
other States in thousands, and call it correct legislation, and charge those 
who oppose it and make these presentations of facts to the country, with a 
want of liberality and justice. Here, then, is a mistake. Instead of grant- 
ing lands for a railroad four hundred miles in extent, we were granting 
lands for a railroad six hundred and ninety miles long; and we did not 
know it ! Let us go a little further. The land which was granted under 
that act was taken up by Illinois. And how many acres do Senators sup- 
pose it was? Why, 2,700,000 acres of land. My friend from Illinois 
knows it to be so. I do not blame the Senators from that State for it. 
They presented the claim. They made no misrepresentation. They were 
asked for no information as to the true condition of affairs ; and they said 
to us, *' If you are willing, let it pass;" and, gloriously for them, it did 
pass. I will show you now how it was carried out, who were the benefi- 
ciaries, and what was the object and character of the appropriation. 

.Mr. Shields. Will the honorable gentleman permit me to a:sk on what 
basis his calculation is founded ? 

31 r. Dawson. From information given by the colleague of the honor- 
able Senator. 

Mr. Shields. I wish to know the authority of the gentleman for 
saying that the road is six hundred and ninety miles long. 

Mr. Dawson. I learn from the gentleman's colleague that the main 
road, including the branch to Galena and the other branches, will be six 
hundred and ninety miles long. 

Mr. Shields. The road from Chicago to Cairo will not be quite four 
hundred miles long; but I find that the gentleman includes the branches. 

Mr. Dawson. The six hundred and ninety miles include all. It is 
im material whether it is cross-firing or direct firing : the lands have been 
taken. The Senator corrects me on a part that does not involve any 
principle. I have not said that the Senators from Illinois acted wrongly. 
If I was a constituent of theirs, I should probably have approved of their 
course, by which their State got 2,700,000 acres of land to construct six 
hundred and ninety miles of road. What does the Senate suppose, what 
does the country suppose, has become of these 2,700,000 acres of land, 
which are said to be the finest lands in Illinois ? — and all the lands in that 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 279 

coantiy arc said to be of excellent quality. It is one of the most beauti- 
ful countries in the West. I was reading the other day the remarks of 
a gentleman on the subject, and he astonished me : he says it is the finest 
pMt of Grod*s globe, — the finest country on which civilized man ever 
settled, — promising, healthful, and fertile. Two million seven hundred 
thousand acres of this land have been taken for the construction of the 
Illinois Railroad. Why, i,t is but a little more than one year since we 
passed the bill authorizing the appropriation of this amount of public lands 
to build the railroad. Illinois, through her Legislature, passed an act 
authorizing certain agents to dispose of these lands to companies who would 
construct these railroads.' Those agents disposed of these lands to a com- 
pany formed in Boston and New York, (through their agent Mr. Rantoul, 
who made a speech in the other House on this subject a short time ago, 
which astonished me, coming from a llepresentative of one of the old 
States,) who undertook to build these railroads and complete them in 
four years from this date. Illinois, I believe, reserves to herself seven 
per cent, of the gross receipts of these railroads thus to be built with the 
proceeds of 2,700,000 acres of the public lands. This number of acres is 
now in the hands of a company formed in Boston and New York, who, 
in their corporate character, are the sole and exclusive owners of the land. 

Mr. Shields. Lest there might be some misapprehension about this 
subject, 1 would take occasion to state that the company only get control 
of the land as they make the railroad. They are not the absolute pro- 
prietors; they only obtain the land in proportion to the progress of the 
road. If they fail, the laud reverts to the State. 

Mr. Dawson. Exactly. The Senator's statement shows that the com- 
pany receives the land in instalments instead of getting it all at once. 
What undertaker would pay a man $5,000,000 for work and labor to be 
executed ? lie would not pay at all until all the work was done. It is 
admitted, however, that the title to the land is vested contingently in the 
company, and, as they finish the road from point to point, the title abso- 
lutely vests in them. I have gone into the estimates and calculations, 
and I find that the cost of building a railroad in that country will not 
exceed 810,000 a mile for laying down the rails, including excavations, 
embankments, and superstructures. The cost for these, and then for 
putting on the engines and cars for these six hundred and ninety miles, 
will be $0,900,000. What is now the estimated value of this land by the 
corporators themselves, — by the gentlemen of the corporation in Illinois? 
The Senators from Illinois know its value. It is the finest land, as is 
admitted by the Senators, in the whole Valley of the Mississippi, and worth 
at least ten dollars an acre. There are 2,700,000 acres of land gone into 
the hands of this company to build a railway worth to them $27,000,000. 
Thus, by our legislation here, this company will receive a profit of 
$21,000,000 on six hundred and ninety miles of railroad. If we had 
acted properly, that might have been done by the United States, and the 
same profits been received into the Treasury. And yet it is said that this 
is honest and just legislation toward every section of country! Why, it 
is an outrage upon the justice and rights of the States which we represent 
here, and one which ought not to be again permitted to occur. 

Nor is this all. These gentlemen say that they will not allow a division 
of the lands, and will not lot the old States hold lands within the limits 
of the State of Iowa or Illinois, or any other of the new States. They 
tell us they will not allow other States to hold lands within their limits. 



2S0 ^ BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Is a State more uukind tbau individuals? Illinois Trill allow a corpo- 
ration of individuals to own 2,700,000 acres of lands within her limits. 
I present this to ^show that all thuse ideas are fanciful. They are unjust 
to ourselves and unjust to the country. It did ni>t become us as repre- 
sentatives of the people, intend! nu: to do what is ri^rht and just between 
State and State. Why may not a State hold lauds within another State? 
Could not the Governor of iie«^rgia have ^me to Illinois and purchased 
the lanJs as Governor, by undertakinix to execute the contract? and then 
he could have held the land. Why, where is the constitutional pntvi»i:>Q 
to prevent one State hoMinjjj land withiu the limits of another ? N'owhero. 
This is the reason int: «:ot up to encourage what are called State- Hi, i:ht9 
men to support these appropriations. Here is the workiujr of the sy*teiu 
now illustrated bcfiire the country, and I want the country to knoiv it: 
2,700,000 acres of land have «:onc into the hands of a eou:pany to builJ 
a niad six hundred and ninety miles lonjr, which will cost SO,*AKM''J0; 
and the land is worth not a dollar Uss than 827,000,000. Then here are 
§21.000,000 p>ne by our leLrislatiun into the hands uf a company, — jione 
by our leirislation when we were not thinking of what we were duini;. 
This is no fancy->ketch. I am telling the truth, aud ^a^utlemen kn-jw it, 
and I .<tand by it. 

But, Mr. I*re>ident, I promised to be short, and I have been. I have 
taken every thing in the way of a calculation out of my speech, because 
my friends from Kentucky [Mr. rnderwoi»d] and Tennes^jee [Mr. Ikll] 
argued tho^e matters so fully that I felt it would be unjust to the 
indulgiMice of the Senate to go over them. I have only gone over «|ues- 
tions which they did not touch upon. AVhat next occurs? My friend 
from 3Iissouri [Mr. Geyer] talked about the great connect in g-liuk which 
was to run and bind this countr\' tt^'ether by iron bars. That was the 
idea, though perhaps I am a little nu-re fanciful than he was. Aud he 
said that these apj^ropriations were r.uide to carry on great n.>ads, for the 
purpose nf internal transportation upon land fr-.^m place to plaee. Thai 
is true. Now, let me present a fact to this country. Vou say. gentlemen, 
that it is for the public g^^id you do this ; and if it did not iucrtast ilie 
prosperity nf the whole country it would be wn>ng. beoau^j, under the 
('onstiiution, we have no power to benefit a p:irt at the expea?e •.-:' the 
Avlnle. Ymu s:iv vr.u want to f^rui a i:reat eonnectinir-liuk in the e.uniry. 
Let u> begin at l>t:stun. Who built the niilr ad tivm B»»st.'ii to Nc-w 
York? Who built the railroads from New Yi»rk to Philadelphia, fr::a 
Philadelphia to Baltimore, from Baltimore to W.tshington, aud on. on. 
until vou strike the Georgia line? These are iireat eon no^-tin-^-1 inks f.r 
trar.spnrtation. for convenience, for rapidity. Who built them? They 
Were built by the people; they wore built by individual capital and cr.r.r- 
prise. What people ? The pcple of the United States, — e«|ually eutitl^'^J 
and e^juiill}- bound lirst for the beuelits, and then tor the consiijuencvis. 
of our <ioveniineut. These people did it. And when you get to my owa 
State, one uf the VMun«^est of the (^Id Thirteen, which wa> kept dvwy rV.r 
ycnr? mul years because she could net extend hor possessiv us cx^xt-nsive 
with her lines and limits, as they were in the po^>es*ion aui •.kceixp:;:':ey 
of the Indians ; whi.n she saw the c-ndition in which the oouutnL* WiS 
placed; wheu >he jiercLlvod that a e inneotion with the North and >. .'i^h 
wa* de.-iniUe, — that iutore mrse must be rapid and improve i ur kn'-w;,:d;;:e 
of eieh '-filicr, inerea.-ie *.\ir affoetions f t each other, a^d make u.< I ve -.•ar 
G'jverniiiiut and Ivve one another, — "rhe did what? In the Lii'l^c vf her 



WILLIAM 0. DAWSON. 281 

poverty, what did she do ? She commenced the Hue which had ended by 
the railroad from Charleston to AugustJi. She commenced on the Geor":ia 
bank of the Savannah River, and with her own enterprise and with her 
own money ran that road to the Valley of the Mississippi ; and it is now in 
full operation. She went over to Tennessee and asked an act of incorpo- 
ration and permission to run her road through that State until we should 
strike the watera of the valley of the great Mississippi ; and I will invite my 
friend from Missouri, [Mr. Atchison,] who said that (jroor«^ia wanted lands, 
and would be quiet if she only got them, — I will invite him, 1 say, to return 
home with me by that route to Missouri. I will pass him over that road at 
the rate of twenty miles an hour, — over mountains and through tunnels. I 
will place him upon the waters of his own great West by steam, from one 
end of Georgia to the other, and I will connect him with a steamboat to 
carry him in the direction he wishes, and then I will ask him to tell me 
why was all this done and by whom. Now, who joins the road at Cairo 
with this link of ours ? We have now eleven hundred miles of railroad, 
at the expenditure of a capital of something like 87,000,000, within our 
own State, all paid out of our own funds, running to the Valley of the 
^lississippi; and when you get to Cairo, and want to go up to Chicago to 
see the President, if he should ever be there, what do you do? When 
jou land from your steamboat at Cairo and go over that road to Chicago, 
(six hundred and ninety miles with its branches,) if the honorable Senator 
from Missouri should ask who built it, the people of Illinois would stand 
on that road and look as majestic, as magniticent, and as consequential as 
if it had been done out of their own money and by their own hands, when 
they got from us six hundred and ninety miles of railroad built at an 
expense to the Government of the United States of §0,900,000, and by the 
contract for which a company will make $21,000,000. That will be the 
result; and then for the Senator to say that Georgia wants her share ! If 
Illinois is entitled to this great benefit, why is not Massachusetts or 
Georgia? Because Georgia has done these things by her enterprise and 
energy, is it a reason why any fair, just, or honorable man should say, 
** You have done the work already : you have expended labor and money 
and ought to be satisfied" ? No, sir. The question which ought to be 
apprehended is this : — Whose money is this ? How should it be divided ? 
To whom does it belong ? But my friend, I believe, will go with me, and 
when he gets into Georgia will say, "By-thc-by, you ought to have your 
share." He says that now; but he is fearful of endangering the bill by 
the adoption of this amendment. 

I said — I make the observation now, and it can be explained — I was 
astonished when I saw the course of some Senators and Representatives 
from the old thirteen StJites upon the land-bills, who come out to vindi- 
cate the right of the new States to take up all these public lands. I read 
a speech, as I before observed, made by a gentleman in the other branch 
of the Legislature, which perfectly astounded me, vindicating these vast 
appropriations of the public money or public lands, and denying to his 
own State the right to have her share. I asked. Why is it so ? When I 
came to search it out, I found he belonged to one of the companies which 
purchased these 2,700,000 acres of land from Illinois. I make this as no 
charge. It may have been all honest and fair; but I can see how it is 
that gentlemen here to-day jumped upon the Baltlcj because it was the 
representative of capital, and denounced the idea that capital should be 
brought within the view of this Capitol to influence members in their 



282 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

course here ] and jct you will do acts bcre that give capital to the amount 
of $ J 7,000,000 to those who combine together to do a thing, in coose- 
qucuce of your legislation. I trust these gentlemen will become aJamied 
at this idea that the public lands are all to go into the hands of capitalists. 
Where is the Senator from Wisconsin, [Mr. Walker,] that he does not 
raise his voice against this accumulation of wealth and property in the 
hands of great lauded proprietors and moneyed corporations K Not a word 
is said; but let Georgia, Massachusetts, or North Carolina, or any other 
of the old States, ask for what justly ought to be given her, and they will 
say, '* No: we will never submit to such a great landed proprietor within 
the limits of our States.'^ Look at the question and meet it fairly. 

But gentlemen ask, Where is the power thus to dispose of the public 
lands as we desire ^ I have taken occasion to look at this thing ; and just 
let me state what Congress has done. Congress has made grants to com- 
munities and individuals for various purposes. They have made grants 
to the States for education, for internal improvements, for public build- 
ings, and have even granted lands to corporations, &g. for education, and 
granted them for the deaf and dumb. Where did you get the power from 
the Constitution to do all these things? If you can benefit all the rest 
of the world, why can you not benefit the old States ? Where is the 
principle in the Constitution that gives you the power to do that for others 
that you cannot do for your own '/ It is an insult to the understanding, 
and calculated merely to awaken fears in the minds of the people and keep 
them confused on this subject ; but if light ever fully dawns upon them, 
and they see how the.^^e public lauds are taken from them, woe be unto 
that man or that party that seeks to deprive them of their rights. But 
is that all 't You have given land to cultivators, to men to rabe olives, 
and to raise grapes from which to make wine. Where did you get that 
power, when you cannot give lands to the State of Georgia, or Kentucky, 
or North Carolina, or Massiichusctts, to educate even the p«x)r and save 
them from starvation 'f You cannot do that I Oh, no ! but you can give 
them to foreigners to cultivate the olive and grape : and then to stand up 
before an honest and intelligent comnmnity and tell them you cannot do 
this, for you have not the power I (Gentlemen who do that must have very 
little respect for the intelligence of the people. 1 feel amazed at these 
arguments, and I feel worse than astonished when I find them prevail in 
some sections of the country over the minds of the people. 

But is this all ^ Since that period you have given lands to Lafayette, — 
an individual. It was all right. You have made a donation of the pro- 
ceeds of the public lands. Now, if you are entitled to the proceeds of the 
public lands, will any one tell me what is the diflference between the land 
and the money for which it was sold 'f Where is the principle of the 
Constitution which says you have a right to sell the lands and then divide 
the money, but which prevents you from dividing the lands among the 
States and letting them dispone of them in their own way? There 16 
none at all. It is discreditable to the country to attempt to infuse such 
distinctions into the minds of the people and lead them from the main 
object in view. And, Mr. President, what do we all submit to? I appeal 
now not to the old thirteen States alone, but to all the States which have 
come into the Union whose lands are nearly gone. What is the effect of 
this policy upon our own section of the country? We are called upon 
to vote away public lands in this way, — for what? To diminish our 
population^ to urge them to emigration and seduce them from the old 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 288 

States, thereby impairiDg the value of our own lands at home; and 
increasiQg the value of those in the new States, — all at our expense. And 
yet we are called upon to sustain these propositions. Gentlemen see it 
and understand it. But I will not comment upon or illustrate these 
positions. I hasten to a conclusion. 

I drop every thing else, and come down to the last point upon which I 
shall speak. The great question which has been presented is. What dis- 
tribution shall be made of the public lands ? A^^ ^^^ States of the Union 
all equally entitled to participate in the advantages growing out of them ? 
Is there a Senator on this floor who dares, in violation of his own good 
sense, get up and announce that each State in this Union is not entitled 
to its share of the public lands ? Is there one who dare do it ? And yet 
they will waive that question, and adopt a course of policy by which they 
deny the principle in their action. They will not dare to avow it in their 
places in the Senate ; but they are pursuing a policy that will by degrees 
sap the whole of the public lands, take from them, time after time, the 
best land, granting two or three hundred miles at a time to particular 
neighborhoods, like the Des Moines, and then at another time making a 
grant of lands ten miles deep for an extent of six or seven hundred miles, 
— ^and all this for the benefit of individual States, and without any regard 
to an equal distribution. 

If we, the members of the Senate of the United States, composed of 
Bixty-two persons, were partners in this great land-fund, and owned it as 
the United States do, if two of us lived in every State of this Union, if 
we held the lands under the same compacts, under the same articles of 
agreement, under the same treaties, that the United States hold them, is 
there a man who would violate his honor and that faith which is due to 
integrity, by saying that he would dispose of these lands to the injury of 
his distant friends in other States, by giving the benefit of them only to 
individuals living in the State in which the lands lie ? And, if they were 
to do so, would not the Supreme Court of the United States instantly 
arrest this attempt to deprive one or more of the copartners of their just 
rights, and force them by the whole power of the Government to do jus- 
tice among one another f Yet here we are, without any just cause, without 
any good reason for it, disposing of our public lands in just the same 
inequitable and improper manner. 

Mr. President, let me suggest that this is the only question remaining 
between the two old parties of the country. The tariff is settled. The 
question of internal improvements is settled. Neither is now strictly a 
Whig or a Democratic question. Portions of both parties take different 
sides in regard to them. The disposition of the public lands is now the 
only question left unsettled ; and I wish now to present this idea : — Is it 
right, is it prudent, for Congress to legislate in such a way as to give dis- 
satisfaction to any portion of the country in relation to their rights ? And 
is it not known that this partial mode of distributing the public lands has 
produced discontent ? And this discontent will grow greater and greater 
as more and more acts are passed of this character and description. If 
this is the only question remaining, what ought we to do ? Settle it ; 
adjust it. Do it amicably; do it with justice ; and do it with unlimited 
liberality toward the new States. I am one of those who, in such a dis- 
tribution, would go as far as the farthest in being liberal toward the new 
States, — toward the younger members of the Confederacy, who have had 
to grow up in the wilderness and the forest. I will do for them as much 



284 BENCH AN'D BAR OF GEORGIA. 

as any other man. But wc all know what has been done for them. My 
worthy friend from Kentucky [Mr. Underwoud] has told you of the 
advantages they have received ; and I have, through his kindness, before 
me here a statement of what the three per cent, fund and the two per 
cent, fund granted to the new States have amtmnted to. And how much 
do you suppose has been paid out of the Treasur}' under these land-laws, 
in actual cash, to the new States y Four millions and some hundreds of 
thousands of dollars, — all gone to them already, besides the immense 
quantity; of land they have received for educational purposes and for pur- 
poses of internal improvements. I do not mention this for the purpose 
of creating discontent or dissatisfaction ; nor does it spring from any 
feeling of unkindness toward the new States. What I say is, that we 
have showed liberality upon liberality; and, if the representatives of the 
new States are willing to come to an equitable adju.stment of this question, 
I want to know when they are going to begin. Was there ever a more 
modcbt, diffident, unassuming request made than that which is made by 
the amendment of my friend from Kentucky ^ He asks 14,000, OO'J of 
acres for the old States. He says, Give it to us : we want it to educate 
our poor people ; we want it to increase our internal improvements. Look 
at what Illinois has got ; look at what Iowa has got; look at what Indiana 
has got; look at all the new States : they are making railroads charm- 
ingly, successfully, and pn)sperously at our expense. Gentlemen of the 
new States, will you not do something to aid us 't If you intend to do us 
justice, what time will be better than this to begin ? What evidence can 
you give of a returning sense of doing that justice to us which the compact 
and the articles of cession require should be done, than to allow this 
amendment to pass ? It is small and limited, to-be-sure, — searcel}" enough 
to do much good. Still, if adopted, it would be the beginning of a system 
founded upon equity and justice, which might grow, and grow, until eon- 
tent and satisfaction would reign throughout thovse States, founded upon 
the justness and propriety of your legislation. But if you stop now. and 
declare that this distribution shall never take place, my word for it, this 
public-land question will be the great question that will disturb the har- 
mony of parties and the aspirations of individuals. I am resolved, for one, 
that this injustice to the State which I in part represent shall never be 
perpetrated by any set of men with my approval. If they do me injustice 
in a case where I am clearly entitled to justice, I shall calculate that they 
would do me injustice on other grounds; and I may make it a foundation 
upon which I would make a stand, even against a friend who would not 
do us justice when it is claimed and when he knows he ought to do it. 

This public-land question should not only be made a question in politics, 
but it should be made a question in morals. By what right can we here 
combine together to take from one another's people that which justly 
should be devoted and appropriated to their use, contrary to the law of 
the land and the moral law ? Are we to forget every thing here and go 
into one common inClic for the purpose of seeing who can get the nu>st ? 
There is a want of morality in that which I cannot approve. I would 
prefer that a man should win my fortune, and then enjoy himself in 
splendor upon it, than to get it in such a way as this. There is a want 
of morals and a want of principle in this which should be looked iuto. 
I make no charges against anybody. We have forgotten what is due to 
each other. The section of the country in which I reside is willing that 
the pi"oceeds of these lands should be paid into the Treasury and be 




WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 285 

appropriated for the payment of the general expenses of the Government. 
I have so voted. But the representatives of the new States will not per- 
mit it to be done hereafter. It is given away for every other purpose 
than that which would benefit the people of the old States. I have looked 
into this matter in every form and shape ; and the more I have looked 
into it^ the more I have become discontented with the manner in which 
the public lands have been appropriated. I have felt the necessity of a 
system founded upon equity and justice, by which the public lands may 
be disposed of. When will the period arrive when that may be done ? 
Never, unless we begin ; and there is no better time to begin than the 
present. Hence it is that 1 say, that if this proposition is rejected it will 
show that you never intend to adopt any proposition by which the old 
States of this Confederacy may be benefited by the public lands. If that 
is done, we will understand you. 

I ask pardon for having detained the Senate so long; and I assure them 
that it was not my intention, when I arose, to have spoken more than 
thirty minutes. 

Mr. ITnderwood. I hope the question will not be taken now. 1 think 
it would be better that it should not now be taken. The truth is, that if 
jou force mo to vote at this time I do not know but that I shall have to 
contradict myself. I stated the other day that if my amendment w:is not 
acceptable to the Senate I should still vote for the bill. I told the worthy 
chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, this morning, that I doubted 
very much whether I ought to do so. And, under the feelings which have 
been inspired by the speech of my friend from Georgia, I really feel almost 
disposed to retract my former assertion that I intended to vote for the 
bill in any event. I feel a sense of the injustice which has been practised 
toward the old States to such an extent, that I do not know whether, if 
something like justice is not done to my own State, I can vote for the 
bill. I therefore hope that the question will not be pressed at this late 
period of the day, but that it may lie over, in order that we may all think 
about it, and that, as the speaking is pretty well over, when we meet again 
we may be prepared to take up the bill and vote upon it. There is no 
immediate necessity for acting on the bill now. 

The further consideration of the bill was postponed. 

For the second session of the Thirty-Second Congress, from iSrst 
Monday in December, 1852, to 4th March, 1853, the author has 
no reported proceedings; and he is therefore unable to give a 
synopsis of the discussions in which Mr. Dawson engaged or the 
measures he introduced in that session. 

In April, 1854, a bill was before the Senate, introduced by Mr. 
Everett, to recompense the discoverer of practical anaesthesia, 
which had been referred to the Committee on Military Aflfairs, 
and amended in committee by inserting the names of William T. G. 
Morton, Charles T. Jackson, and Horace Wells, as the probable 
discoverers, and by filling a blank in the bill relative to the amount 
to be paid with the sum of one hundred thousand dollars. The 
report* says that 

* Cong. Globe, yoL xxviii. part 2, p. 943. 



286 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROIA. 

The bill, as amended, rceitcs that a discovery has been made, and is 
now in practice, whereby the human body can be rendered safely insen- 
sible to pain in dental, surgical, and obstetrical operations, by the use of 
what are commonly called anaesthetic agents, and the Grovernment of the 
United States has been and is in the enjoyment of the discovery, in the 
military and navail service ; and that it is believed that the discovenr wis 
made by some one of the following persons, — William T. G. MortoD, Charles 
T. Jackson, each of Boston, and Horace Wells, of Hartford, deceased ; hot 
it does not appear to the satisfaction of Congress which of these parties 
was the original, true, and first discoverer thereof; and, as Congress is 
willing to provide a recompense for such discovery when ascertained, it 
proposes to appropriate 6100,000, to be paid by the Secretary of the 
Trctisury as a recompense for the discovery and the use and benefit 
thereof by the Government and people of the United States. 

The following conversational remarks transpired in the Se- 
nate : — ^ 

Mr. Dawson. I regret that I failed this morning to bring up some 
papers connected with this subject. I wish now to ask that the further 
consideration of the bill be postponed until to-mon'ow, in order that I may 
produce those papers. 1 have in my possession a letter from Dr. Jackson 
and one from Dr. Ijong, of Athens, in the State of Georgia, on this sub- 
ject. Dr. Long is a very young man ; but he commenced his practice as 
early, I think, as the year 1848, and has, therefore, been over ten years 
in the professioj^. The evidence which I have will, I think, establish the 
fact beyond controvei^y, that this young man applied this discovery in the 
same form in which it is said to have been applied by one of the three 
individuals mentioned. I have forgotten his given name, or I would pro- 
pose to insert it in the proper place. 

Mr. Everett. It is provided for by the general provision allowing all 
persons to come in. 

J\Ir. Dawson. I know that; but I wish Dr. Long to stand among the 
four named in the bill as one of the individuals who, in all probability, 
made the first discovery. Perhaps it would be sufficient to put in Ihr. 
Long, of Athens, Georgia. 

Mr. AValker. I will state to the Senator from Georgia that I heard of 
this gentleman, and procured of Mr. Hillyer, of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, his name, and I thought I had it in my pocket ; but I have 
lost it. The terms of the bill, however, are broad enough to embrace 
him. 

Mr. Dawson. But I wish to have him distinctly mentioned in both 
sections. I move, therefore, to insert the name of ** Dr. Long, of Athens, 
Georgia,'' in every place in the bill where the names of Dr. Jackson and 
Dr. Morton occur. 

The amendment was agreed to. 

On the 20th April, 1854, Mr. Dawson addressed the Senate as 

follows :* — 

Mr. President : — During my recent absence from this city, resolutions 
were transmitt<?d to me from the Legislature of the State of Georgia, 

* See Congressional Globe, vol. xxviii. part 2, p. 95«>. 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 287 

through the Executive of that State, which I did net intend, nor think it 
necessary, to submit to the Senate ; but, as I am instructed to do so, in 
consequence of the oft-repeated presentation of petitions on the subject 
of slavery, I beg leave to present them. 

They set forth that the State of Georgia, in solemn convention, had 
firmly fixed herself upon the principles of the Compromise measures of 
1850, relating to the subject of slavery in the Territories of the United 
States, as a final settlement of the agitation of that question, its with- 
drawal from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and its refer- 
ence to the people of the Territories interested therein, and distinctly 
recognises in those Compromise measures the doctrine that it is not com- 
petent for Congress to impose any restrictions as to the existence of 
slavery among them upon the citizens moving into or settling upon the 
Territories of the Union, acquired or to be hereafter acquired, but that 
the question whether slavery shall or shall not form a part of their do- 
mestic institutions is for them alone to determine for themselves. Her 
present Executive has reiterated and affirmed the same fixed policy in 
his inaugural address. They therefore resolve : — 

That the Legislature of GeorgfH, as the representatives of the people, speaking 
their will and expressing their feelings, have had their confidenco strengthened in 
the fitettled determination of the great body of the Northern people to carry out 
in good faith those principles, in the practical application of them to the bills re- 
ported by Mr. Douglas from the Committee on Territories in the United States 
Senate at the present session, proposing the organization of a territorial govern- 
ment for the Territory of Nebraska. 

And be it further Remlved^ That our Senators in Congress be, and they are hereby, 
instructed, and our Representatives requested, to vote for and support those prin- 
ciples, and to use all proper means in their power for carrying them out, either 
as applied to the government of the Territory of Nebraska, or in any other bill for 
territorial government which may come before them. 

Resolved, further. That his Excellency the Governor be requested to transmit a 
copy of these resolutions to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress. 

I present these resolutions. I do not wish to make any further com- 
mentaries on them, but simply to say that they are the decision of the 
representatives of the people of Georgia, in I^egislative Assembly con- 
vened. I move that they lie on the table. 

Throughout the session he maintained his habitual activity and 
devotion to his public duties, and frequently submitted his views, 
as the following subjects on which he addressed the Senate will 
show : — 

1. The mission of the Papal Nuncio to the United States. 

2. Refunding to certain railroad-companies duties paid on rail- 
road-iron. 

3. To enable the United States to make use of the solar com- 
pass in the public surveys. 

4. The Nebraska and Kansas Bill. 

6. To print additional copies of the Patent-Office Report. 

6. For the publication of the Senate debates, and compensation 
therefor. 

7. On the bill authorizing a large gold coinage. 



288 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

8. On the bill for the construction of a railroad from the Mis- 
sissippi Valley to the Pacific Ocean. 

9. To authorize the extension of the Washington and Alexan- 
dria Railroad into the District of Columbia. 

10. On the Homestead Bill. 

11. Relating to the Lower California expedition against Mexico. 

12. On the bill granting land to the State of Michigan for the 
construction of the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad. 

13. On the bill granting land to the State of Louisiana for con- 
structing a railroad from Algiers, on the Mississippi River, to the 
Sabine, &c. 

14. To repeal the Minnesota Land Bill. 

While the Homestead Bill was before the Senate, on the 20th 
July, 1854, he proposed an amendment, the nature of which may 
be seen by the official report:* — 

Mr. Dawson. I then move to strike out the words "who may not he 
a landholder;" and my reason for doing so is this: — As I stated before, 
the whole of these public lands bolon<4 as much to one citizen of the 
United States as to another; and it is but equal and fair justice because 
A has been an industrious and thriving]; man, and has drawn around him 
the comforts of life, that he should be entitled to the same rights, at 
least, as the man who has been prodigal and lazy. The qualification 
placed in the amendment is to give to the landless; and the landless may 
be as rich as any man in the Union, for a millionnaire in this country may 
not hold lands. Sir, when we are going to do justice, let us do it broadly, 
fairly, and honestly. 

It is known to all that I am opposed to this giving away of the public 
lands at all; but, if they arc to go, 1 am just as much entitled to my 
share as any man in the Union, and any man in the Union is as much 
entitled as I am. How is it that we undertake to specially legislate for 
individuals instead of the masses, and to lay down a discrimination and 
say that the landless, from improvidence, shall be preferred to the indos- 
trious man, because the latter has drawn around him the comforts of a 
home? Do you believe, gentlemen of the Senate, that the industrious, 
hardy people of this country will submit to such a regulation ? Will any 
man feel that you are conferring a favor on him by the bill, when it 
induces the people to live in idleness, in carelessness, and indifference to 
industry? Shall we put men who are idle upon a more elevated foot- 
ing than the industrious and persevering? Sir, when these things are 
known, the public mind will stand astounded at this special legislation, 
which is so incompatible with the equal rights of the people of this 
country. 

Now, sir, it is seen by every gentleman that the mechanics of the 
country cannot go and occupy such a homestead. They are driven by 
implication, and by making a distinction against their occupation, either 
to go on the lands or not to receive the benefits of the bill. It says to 



* Appendix to the Congressional Qlobe, vol. xxix. p. 1106. 



^ 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 289 

the industrious classes who have nothing, '^ Here is a proposition ; but, if 
jou do not go on the land, you shall have no interest in the land." 

In a few days after making this speech on the Homestead Bill, 
Mr. Dawson addressed the Senate, giving his views on appropria- 
tions of the public money to improve rivers and harbors, — a subject 
on which there is a great diversity of opinion among statesmen. 
The House of Representatives had passed a bill designating large 
sums for different localities, with the following provisions : — 

The Secretary of War, before expending any part of the money herein 
appropriated, shall, in such cases as he njay think the public interests 
require it, cause a rc-examination and re-survey of the public works 
hereby appropriated for; and he is hereby authorized to modify the pre- 
sent plan if, in his opinion, the public works will be materially benefited 
thereby. 

The following is an extract from Mr. Dawson's speech:* — 

When the bill came to the Seriate I looked upon its passage almost as 
certain. I knew it had incorporated into it objectionable features ; and I 
thought, sir, that conservative, constitutional men in the Senate would 
meet it with boldness and with firmness, and limit the power of the 
Government in making appropriations for rivers and harbors by some just 
discretion, if there be none in the Constitution for it. But instead of 
that, sir, all the objectionable features which would bring down the veto 
of the President of the United States on the bill are sought to be covered 
over, and the President is sought to be deprived by indirection, by an 
ad captandum movement, of the right of veto, upon the idea that he is 
so weak and so wanting in firmness and independence as to act on mo- 
tives of expediency and leave the final decision to a future time. Sir, 
my confidence in the President of the United States is far above this. 
If his friends charge him with want of discretion, want of observation, 
want of capacity, by incorporating such a provision as this, I shall not do 
it. Why, sir, for the purpose of passing the bill through this body 

i which every one of them believes to be unconstitutional) they seek to 
ivide the responsibility. And how do they do it ? By first announcing 
to the people of this country that the Congress of the United States has 
not sufficient intelligence or information to act upon a subject of this 
kind. My friend from Michigan says that there is no other way in which 
they may know how to act ; therefore he is for transferring the legislative 
discretion to an executive officer : and he says he will take the opinion 
of the Secretary of War in regard to the facts. We are to take the 
examination of the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of War is to 
regulate the power of Congress in the making of appropriations of money, 
for commercial purposes, for these rivers and harbors. We are to transfer 
that to the head of the War Department ; so that Congress will be en- 
lightened when the Secretary of AVar, at the next Congress, shall com- 
municate to us his views upon the subject, with the facts he may have 
ascertained. How is he to ascertain the facts '/ Will it not be had by 



* Appendix to the Globe, toL xxix. p. 1160. 
Vol. L— 19 



290 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROU. 

sendiDg out engineers and officers to make surveys and estimates and lay 
them before bim ? and can we not act upon tbem just as well as tbe 
Secretary of War? AVby, sir, it is an insult to tbis body and to tbe 
<]tber brancb of Congress to make sucb a proposition. For what do we 
bave our engineers but for tbe purpose of ascertaining tbe facts? and if 
we stick to principle, Kir, and vote for no proposition of tbis kind except 
upon proper estimates made upon tbe subject, tbcre will be no necessity 
for tbis. 

Now, sir, for a large proportion of tbis bill I am prepared to vote ; but 
do we not see, bave we not received from tbe President of tbe United 
States, boncstly, as a mun sbould act, an assurance tbat be would have 
sanctioned tbe Cape Fear River appropriation but for certain reasons 
expressed in bis Message ? In turning over and looking to tbis bill, we 
find in it an appropriation for tbe Appomattox Iliver, wbicb runs up to 
Petersburg, in Virginia, and wbicb is not as wide as from my seat to tho 
centre of tbe Senatc-Cbamber. The bill contains an appropriation of 
$500,000 for that object. Could there be any difference in putting that' 
out of the bill, if there are in this body any constitutional views in accord- 
ance with those formerly sustained by tbe Democratic party ? Not a 
particle. And yet we are not to undertake to strike out such unconstitu- 
tional appropriations. But what do yoo undertake to do ? Divide the 
responsibility — like a cuttle-fish in shallow water, who blackens it in order 
to escape — and try to throw it upon the Government. Why, do they not 
know that the President, in honor, would be bound to veto tbe bill? 
You cannot change it. The people will understand it. There b not a 
Senator but knows it. Whether tbe President has been conversed with 
for the purpose of adopting this plan, I cannot tell. I do not believe he 
has. The object is to wind round and get over tbe constitutional prin- 
ciple. And how do you propose to do it ? By throwing the question of 
the constitutionality of the appropriation upon the head of one of the De- 
partments, the Secretary of War. 

Now, Mr. President, anxious as I am, for one, for tbe passage of many 
appropriations contained in this bill, I would never make myself an in- 
.strument or agent in getting through such an amendment as this. When- 
ever the Constitution is mandatory, and the representatives of tbe people 
fail to stand within its prescribed limits, I call for tbe President to exer- 
cise his veto, and not let Congress determine and plan the system for the 
purpose of undermining that sacred instrument. Sir, I look upon that 
amendment as ati evasion, more than an absolute violation, of the Con- 
stitution 'y for by it we are sapping the foundation of tbe Constitution in 
a mode and manner unknown to the Constitution, and in time it will 
destroy the dignity of the Legislature and tho independence of our 
Senatorial action. Of that there is no dispute. Now, what are we to 
do ? The President tells you, like a man, " My conscience will not permit 
me to approve a bill of a character like this, because there are objection- 
able features in it. Send it back, knock them out, and I will signify 
my approval of it." No, you say, in the language of tbe Senator from 
Tennessee, (Mr. Bell:) there is a combination by which appropriations 
are put into these bills ; but if you strike out one of them you destroy 
the whole bill : therefore, it is to get round this that sucb a proposition is 
made. 

Mr. B£LL. I said that all appropriation-bills were got through by a 
kind of compromise. 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 291 

Mr. Dawson. I stated you correctly. All bills are carried through 
by log-rolling : it is not on principle. Now, what is the reason ? I ask 
the Senator from Tennessee why he cannot strike out the appropriation 
for the Appomattox River. Why cannot yon do it ? 

Mr. Benjamin. Why does not somebody move it ? 

Mr. Dawson. Why do not the friends of the bill, who are so deeply 
interested in it, move to strike it otit ? But the idea is to smooth over 
the entire arrangements and endeavor to avoid the veto. Now, the object 
that I have in view is to bring the matter right back to constitutional 
appropriations, so as to make the bill proper before the President of the 
United States. That is what I want to do ; and I submit to the Senate 
and the country if this is not the constitutional and only proper mode of 
proceeding. 

Mr. Benjamin. If the Senator from Georgia will move to amend the 
bill by striking out the objectionable features — if he will satisfy us that 
they are objectionable — I shall vote for it. 

Mr. Dawson. Everybody knows that I am opposed to these general 
appropriation-bills. I believe them to be unconstitutional. My views on 
the subject have been well expressed by a Democratic President of the 
United States; and I have fought side by side with the Senator from 
Michigan, (Mr. Cass,) upon the question of river and harbor bills, against 
mj distinguished leader, Mr. Clay. And I did it upon no party con- 
siderations. I did it upon constitutional considerations. Such are my 
views. Everybody knows that I belong to the Whig party ; but I never 
acted with them loosely on that subject. In speaking of myself, before 
the last Presidential election I had the honor of being at the Baltimore 
Convention when General Scott was nominated ; and we put down our 
position as being in favor of appropriations for national objects, and left 
it to the sense of propriety and justice of Senators and Representatives 
here what would make it national. I know there is a great diversity of 
opinion in any one State. I have described them myself, and I thought 
every Senator had described them for himself. I am satisfied with the 
limitation placed upon it by the President of the United States. 

The quotations given will suflSce to show the method and ability 
of Mr. Dawson in debate. He was a vigilant Senator, watching 
the interests of the whole country. No constituents were ever 
served more faithfully in the various trusts committed to his 
charge. Though very attentive to what was passing, and re- 
strained by no diflSdence of character, yet he was not as often 
upon the floor as a number of other members less qualified to 
apeak. As a matter of curiosity, the author"*" took the trouble to 
ascertain what names appeared most frequently in the proceedings, 
and he here gives the result. The figures in the table signify 
that the names mentioned may be found on an equal number of 
pages in the Congressional Globe for the first session of the Thirty- 
Third Congress, 1853-54. 

* See article, ** Clironicles of the Qoveniment and People of the United States, " 
in the September No., 1855, (p. 286,) De Bow's ReTiew. 



292 BENCH AND BAR OF GBOROIA. 

TABLE REFERRING TO DEBATE, MOTIONS, &0. 



IN 8KNATI. TIMES. 

1. Hunter, Virginia 335 

2. Badger, N. Carolina.... 254 

3. Waller, California 241 

4. Shields, Illinois 202 

5. Cass, Michigan 190 

G. Pratt, Maryland 185 

7. Bayard, Delaware 183 

8. Douglas, Illinois 183 

9. Rusk, Texas 168 

10. Dawson, Georgia 144 



IK HOUSB OF BKPBE8EKTATITB8. TXHBI. 

G. W. Jones, Tennessee.... 703 

Houston, Alabama 378 

Orr, South Carolina 341 

Haven, New York 299 

Campbell, Ohio 266 

Clingman, North Carolina.. 256 

Smith, Virginia 233 

Richardson, Illinois 195 

Bayley, Virginia 173 

Phillips, Alabama * 123 

While in the Senate, Mr. Dawson had for companions and co- 
laborers John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster, 
statesmen of a world-wide fame. He had frequent opportunities 
of witnessing their great powers in debate and in the preparation 
of measures for the public good. With Mr. Clay he was quite 
a favorite, both possessing an urbanity of manner never sur-. 
passed, which made their personal relations still more intimate and 
agreeable. 

On the 4th day of March, 1855, the public life of Mr. Dawson 
terminated with his commission as a United States Senator. He 
returned home to enjoy the society of his friends and neighbors 
and the respect of all parties in Georgia. 

Here the author takes occasion to introduce several letters which 
he received from Mr. Dawson, as proof of the friendship of that 
gentleman. Their acquaintance began in 1828. That the letters 
were entirely private can be no objection to them. Had they 
been intended for the public eye, they would in all probability have 
been more artificial, and the less valued on that account. 

TO STEPHEN P. MILLER. 

Gbiiksbo&o, July 2, 1832. 

My dear Sir : — Will you be so kind as to inquire for a Mr. , of 

Twiggs, and if you can find him please see him, and inquire of him how 

much he gave for the land he purchased of the executors of , and 

write me forthwith ? If you cannot see him in a day or two, go to the 

Clerk's Office, and examine for the deed from the executors of to 

, or any one else. I want the information by the 10th instant 

Please attend to it for me, and I will kindly reciprocate the favor. 

In great haste, sincerely, your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 
to stephen f. miller. 

Washington City, March 10, 1863. 
My dear Sir : — The documents of the last session of Congress arc just 
being completed — printed : hence my delay in sending you, according to 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 293 

your request in December last. I have directed all mine to be sent to 
Greensboro. I am, and bave been, unable to attend to my friends, in con- 
sequence of excessive pain from a felon on my rigbt tbumb for several 
weeks. I am now writing without the use of my thumb. Now, my 
friend, so soon as you receive this, write to me at Greensboro, reminding 
me of my promise to send you a copy of all. 

Your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 

to stephen f. miller. 

Gbbbnsbobo, July 8, 1858. 

My dear Sir : — Your letter has not been answered, because it came 
during my " absent days" on a visit to the great West, where I have been 
about two months, doing some important ^^riva^c and public business, and 
playing the agreeable. 

Today I send you the "Constitution," a suitable book for reference; 
you will be pleased to have it. It will be followed by documents, as soon 
as I catch up with my correspondence, which is awfully behind, accumu- 
lated daring my absence. I wish you could see what is before me. You 
would pity and help me. But S. F. Miller shall not be forgotten, if he 
will only continue to write me friendly and amusing letters and things as 
kindly as he always has done ; and I beg him to remember that W. C. 
Dawson is the same man precisely as he has always been, and as full of 
laugh and fun as he ever was, and likes old friends better than ever. So 
make no apologies to me, but fill your letters with fun most freely, and 
with any thing calculated to make me feci comfortable, or laugh, — if it 
even be at myself. 

By-the-by, begin by letting me know how Jenkins goes about you. 
lie gets nearly everybody in these parts. You may also inform me how 
Dawson stands as Senator : and are the people for his re-election ? About 
here the men and the women arc all for him. lie would like to hear 
from you. I know he is sanguine of success, especially if his friends will 
take an interest. 

Thermometer 96, coat off, and it is too hot to think. Dry, and crops 
distressingly bad ; and I already begin to fear the next year will be a hard 
year generally throughout the State. My own crop is fair, but it is not 
good. My health is very good. Your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 



TO STEPHEN F. MILLER. 

Washinqton Citt, January 15, 1864. 

Dear Sir : — A most beautiful day out ; but my head aches, so as to 
keep in-doors. Still, you see, I am writing, endeavoring to reduce the 
bundles on my table, which constantly remind me what has yet to be 
done. But, as you said in your letter, " look up ; be cheerful as ever :'' 
so here goes. 

I will send you the proceedings on the Vice-President's death, when 
published. I cannot find the proceedings on Mr. Calhoun's and Mr. 
Clay's death. Should I at last succeed, 1 will send them. 

1 wonder if you would like to have a copy of the Census ? That you 



294 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

will not get until it is bouod, and you write roe a letter full of news and 
fun. Is mj old friend William Y. Hanseli"^ in jour city ? 

Stephens is better, and Dawson quite well, except the headache cold. 

Your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 

to stephen f. miller. 

Washingtox Citt, February 22, 1854. 

My DEAR Sir : — As it is the 22d day of February, and the ground 
covered one foot six inches deep with snow, I feel rejoiced that Wash- 
ington was born, — consequently grateful. The snow makes me cool. 
Under such influence I choose to answer your provoking, amusing, con- 
ning, skinning, complimentary letter. Because you have had your fun 
with Livingston, is that any reason why you should "poke if' at me, 
reminding me of what has been done for me, — as much as to say, you '' old 
fogy," I have heard of you for the last twenty years? Why did you not 
speak of my military services, — the dangers 1 have passed, the suffenDgs 
1 have undergone, to protect my countr}^ ? Why, sir, you do not know 
that at least one day out of six I was without " a cup of coffee" for 
breakfast, compelled to satisfy my appetite with nothing but bread and 
meat, and perhaps a little chicken ? Notwithstanding all this, I still kept 
afloat the flag of my country, and you fail to think of these sufferings when 
telling me what has been done for me. 

And to tell me not to murmur " at public ingratitude," you letter- 
writer, you dyspeptic, **you cigar-destroyer," you writing critic, biogra- 
phical sketcber, and cynical philosopher. " But I will keep my temper," 
and, if you don't mind, I won't send you any more documents : if you 
don't behave, I won't do it, nohow : see if I do. Y^ou want the Census. 
I will send them to you. When you get them, I hope you will be suffi- 
ciently enlightened to do justice to one of the soldiers of your own State, 
who was defending your liberties and rights whilst you were gently and 
securely sleeping, or basking, " in the sunshine of security." Don't you 
feel that you have done me great injustice? Tell me *'not to murmur" ! 
Who cares that I was turned out of the Senate? I don't. But to have 
my military services forgotten by you, how can I stand it ? You must 
come out in your next letter to me and apologize. If you don't^ you must 
suffer the consequences. 

Now, as to that letter to Livingston. Don't become vain, my young 
friend : it was here before you scut it. Did you suppose that nobody 
could find out that that letter was a good thing before you told them ? 
Suppose you did write it : why, it is just as fine as if written by Junius. 
Why, Senator , with the ** Southern Standard," printed in Charles- 
ton, in his hand, brought it to me, saying, ''Dawson, do tell me who wrote 
this letter. I want to know the man : it is the best thing I have read for 
many years. It is very excellent." I read it, and found it out, and saw 
that it was a fine specimen, for style and sarcAasm : (you see I put the h to 
make the word keen, — do you perceive ?) Junius to the Duke of Grafton. 



* Mach of the time that Mr. Dawson was Clerk of the House of RcpreseutAtiTes, 
Major Hansell was Secretary of the Senate ; and each, no doabt, deliyered a thousana 
messages, with the usual formalities of communication, between the two Uooses. 
Besides, they were intimate personal and political friends. 



WILLIAM C. DAW80N. 295 

So jon see, my letter-writer, some people can find a clever thing as well 
as others, although jou did — I had a great mind to tell jou of it, because 
yon said nothing about my military services, — so 1 had. But, 'cause you 
behaved bad, I won't. 

Mr. has kept the letter, of course charmed with the hidden wit, 

sarcasm, &c. I spoke of you as a promising young man, — the one to whom 
Mr. Clay wrote the Tuscaloosa letter about slavery, Texas, &c. Being 
about my own age, I knew you were comparatively but " an old boy." 
Your reputation is rising, — no dispute of it ; and there arc solid reasons for 
it. You have a good platfonn, but not calculated to make one popular 
with the '^ distinguished gentlemen'' rendered immortal by Livingston's 
Biographical Sketches. ** Think of that, Master Brooke." I will keep 
this " in pickle" for you, and if you don't ** treat me well," you sarcastic 
epistolatory skinner^ I will put it at you. 

The aforesaid letter shall not die : it shall be published again for the 
good it may do. Is that right ? I have written in a hurry, in good 
humor, if nothing else : so write to me. 

I take the liberty of subscribing myself your friend ; but it will injure 
me if known. Wm. C. Dawson. 



TO STEPHEN F. MILLER. 

Washinqton City, January 21, 1855. 

My dear Sir : — Mrs. Dawson enters, and says, " Judge, why are you 
writing letters on Sunday ?" " Why, dear, young Dr. Miller, the son 
of an old friend, wants the post of assistant surgeon in the navy, and has 
written me for a letter recommending him as such, to accompany his ap- 
plication, and I must send it off to-day." The letter being written, folded, 
and sent off, and I begin to write another letter, Mrs. Dawson says, ''Why 
don't you now stop? Who is that to?" '* The father of Dr. Miller." 
^' So violate the Sabbath just to gratify the Millers !" '' Yes, the old man 
is grumbling terribly : here are three letters he has written in one day." 
** What does he want ?" ^^ Documents, books, speeches, pamphlets, &c." 
<* Well, do send him some. But does he read them ?" 

Then I was stopped, but said, " I suppose so." So look out for what shall 
come. I shall send you the '' Criminal Codes of Europe," to remind you 
that *' crime exists," although you may have forgotten it, and to let you 
know it is a crime for you to make a '' married man" work on Sunday for 
JOU, to keep you from scolding so outrageously. I wish it was iu my 
power : you should read every document I send to you. But I will soon 
be out of Congress, (oh, ho !) then what will such '' Grumbletonians" as 
you do? Won't you miss Dawson ? Yes, you will; and I don't care if 
others do, "confound them." They behaved so naughty; and now write 
to me, and say how sorry they are that " mi/ services are to be lost to the 
country," — as if it was my fault! I will "pester them fellows yet:" see 
if I don't. 

What do you think? At least a dozen — yes, a full dozen — of good, old- 
fashioned Democrats have written to me that they want me to b« Governor, 
^whew-ew!) and say, "Tea and Coffee" won't hurt me any more. "Now, 
aid you ever?" But it is all well enough to hear "these sayings" just 
about the time I am about to depart this life politically, perhaps forever. 
Oh, what an ungrateful world this dirty ball is, — is it not ? Only think, 
the money; the blood; the sleepless hourS; the mud and dirt 1 have been 



■s 



296 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

in for my country, — spent, spilt and lost; and then — oh, then — think what 
is to become of me, — ^' just think of it/' and look at me, as happj as i 
Christian, with an amiable wife by my side, patting my cheeks — ^yes, mj 
cheeks : I have checks yet — and saying, ^* How happy we shall be when yon 
get out of Congress, and get rid of answering that big pile of letters, and 
doing so much work night and day, enough to kill a common man, and then 
to get no thanks for it, but to be called an ' Old Fogie,' when you are 
as young as the best of them and can do more work than anybody f Who 
wants your place ? But who cares ? I don't : do you V 

We have but little news here. I shall leave the Senate without aay 
personal regrets, and I suppose the world will not be shocked by it. StilJ, 
I can but think some persons in Georgia will regret it. 

Mrs. Dawson is blessed with great equanimity of temper, and looks on 
political honors generally as bubbles, empty things. But patriots- 
such men as you and I — think them something. But enough of this. 
Write mo the Georgia news. Your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 

to stephen f. miller. 

Senate-Chamber, January 30, 1855. 

My DEAR Sir : — What do you mean ? Do you want to quarrel, send- 
ing me scraps from newspapers, to "fret me," to make me desire — what? 
Do you know? Do you mean to put me into *' harness" again? Why 
don't you talk plain, and let me know? You confuse me, — make me feel 
'< aspirations" when you know I have never felt them. Don't you know 
it? Don't you say you don't. If you do, I shall call you a ''Know- 
Nothing." Your "scrap" is quite complimentary, and I have come to 
the conclusion to let it pass, thinking you did not intend to give cause 
"for pistols and coffee for two;" for I don't want to travel away just 
now, as I shall at least hereafter bo useful to myself, and perhaps to you. 

Democracy is in a "muss," and so is Whiggery. What will be the 
result, I can't tell. In the confusion Georgia had a chance for a trump, 
and, if the game be "three up," may turn a "Jack ;" and if Georgia can 
hold "low" and make the game, she will be "out." And so will I be 
"out" on the 4th of March, and in the ranks of the "rank and file,'* 
and shall take my position in line according to " height," and obey the 
"drill-officers," unless I shall be considered "muster free" or placed ou 
the "retired list." But, having been dreadfully injured "in the battle of 
Milledgeville," in January, 1854, am I not, by the laws of Georgia, en- 
titled to a bounty ! But who cares? If the old soldiers' bill passes Con- 
gress, I will receive a land-bounty, and will have a " homestead," an old 
soldier's home. Think of that, "Master Brooke," and poke no more of 
your fun at me. 

I find the only way to keep you at peace vfiih me is to feed you with 
"documents" until you get dyspepsia. I will soon bring you to that: 
see if I don't. 

Now, my dear sir, come to business. Write me fully and freely the 
condition of things politically in Georgia. How are the people divided? 
I see I am charged with being a "Know-Nothing." This is caused by 
my speech against conferring the honors of the Senate on Father Matthew, 
which had never been done upon any American divine or temperance-man; 
by my speech against Kossuth, and refusal to stand up, with hat off, when 
he and his baboon suite were introduced into the Senate^ (Judge Berriea 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 297 

did tbe same thing,) and by my various speeches ap;ainst giving the public 
lands to foreigners upon terms more favorable than to native citizens. 
Now, if these views make me a "Know- Nothing/* I am one without 
knowing it. I don't care if it does. It comes by pursuing my prin- 
eiples. 

I have been "baptized'' into no confessions, and as yet admitted into no 
political church; but it seems I am a Christian, — at least judged so by my 
acts and independent political course. In the same way I may be called 
a "temperance-man," because I never "drink to hurt," — only enough to 
make me agreeable and feel comfortable. Now, shall I grumble when I 
am called a " temperance-man ?" No, I won't. 

I am only writing to amuse you, whilst my old friend. General CasS; is 
making a "Buncombe speech," and saying he is no aspirant, &c. 

My health is firm, hair on the head, and my whiskers black, all native 
growth and no black mixture required to naturalize them. Hem ! Some 
call me "a young filibuster;" but when I pour out my conservative 
notions, some chap cries out, " He is an old fogie." Upon the whole, like 
Webster was at one time, I have to exclaim, "Where am I to go?" The 
Georgia Legislature has decided the question : — " Go back to the post of 
honor, a private station." I obey, and shall comply in a few weeks with 
the decision, pay up the costs, and settle the case. Now, what have you 
to say? Say it. Your friend, 

Wm. C. Dawson. 

to stephen f. miller. 

Senate-Cuamber, February 19, 1856. 

My dear Sir : — ^Tbe lightning I see : the thunder will be along 
presently, no doubt. Having escaped the flash, the noise will not alarm 
me, as I anticipated it. 

Now, my dear sir, as I have an immense number of letters to write, and 
mj imagination is sleeping, I will postpone a full reply to your quizzical 
letter until I have an opportunity of "lounging it out" with you, — which, 
I hope, will not be long. But I will say that Wm. C. Dawson has come 
to the conclusion that he will be placed on the "retired list." Although 
a young man, the severe wound he received in the Senatorial battle of 
"'53" in Milledgeville has impaired his usefulness, and the country will 
not feel much disposed, I apprehend, to call him again into service. 

What do you think of it? People will sympathize with a " dying man," 
whether he is about to depart naturally or politically. I shall file no in- 
junction ; but my down-hill tendencies may run their course, and by that 
time I shall consider the policy of spelling up again. 

But we are now on " that monstrosity," the Pacific Railroad Bill, and I 
must say a word or two. I am in fine health, looking young and cheerful, 
anticipating sunshine the remainder of my life, — in public or in private 
life. I will not say a word about my new partner^ who is in all things 
what she ought to be. 

I promise " to pounce" on you when I meet you. Your friend, who 
thanks you sincerely for your very pleasant and amusing letters, &c. &c. 

Wm. C. Dawson. 

These letters aflford evidence of the playful disposition of Judge 
Dawson, — of the goodness and simplicity of his heart. If all that 



298 BENCH AND BAR OF GBORQIA. 

he has written to his friends in a similar vein could be collected, 
they would form a volume of elegant, provoking humor. The 
memory of such a man, of such endearing qualities is pleasant, 
yet mournful, to the soul of friendship. 

His public life has now been traced to its close, and it was too 
soon that his mortal career also terminated. Suddenly, and with 
only a few hours* warning, this distinguished patriot and friend of 
his race departed this life at his residence in Greensboro, on the 
6th of May, 1856. 

The announcement took the country by surprise, and melted all 
hearts. Telegraphic despatches gave the afflicting event the widest 
circulation. The press everywhere noticed it in terms suited to 
the standing of the deceased, — of respect for his character and 
sorrow for his death. 

A brief notice of his family will be given. The first Mrs. Dawson 
died in 1850, leaving a number of children. Judge Dawson remained 
a widower until November, 1854, when he intermarried with Mrs. 
Eliza M. Williams, of Memphis, Tennessee. 

His eldest son, William Beid Dawson, died while a student at 
the University of Georgia, in the junior class. The second child 
was Henry Mounger Dawson, who died at the age of three years. 
The third is George Oscar Dawson, at this time a lawyer resident 
in Greensboro, and who has frequently represented the county of 
Greene in the Legislature. His fourth child was Henrietta Wing- 
field, now the wife of Joseph B. Hill, of Columbus ; the fifth is 
Edgar Gilmer Dawson, a lawyer, also residing in Columbus, who 
married the only daughter of the late Dr. William Terrell, of Sparta, 
so honorably known to the public as a former Bepresentative in 
Congress, — one of the most intelligent agricultural writers of his 
day, — a man of great wealth, out of which he established a profes- 
sorship in Franklin College. The Legislature named a county 
after him, as an acknowledgment of his generosity and public 
spirit. The sixth child of Judge Dawson was Emma Caledonia, 
who married Edward W. Seabrook, of South Carolina, the nephew 
of Governor Seabrook of that State. The seventh is Lucien Wing- 
field Dawson, a lawyer residing in Greensboro, who married Eliza, 
daughter of George Dent, of Athens. 

A son* of Judge Dawson (to whose courteous reply to a letter 
on the subject the author is indebted for the family-record given) 
thus speaks of his father : — 



* Edgar G. Dawson, Esq. 



W 



WILLIAM C. DAWBON. 299 

I see that the Masonic Fraternity are preparing and arranging to raise 
a monument to his memory, and to establish a '* Dawson Professorship" 
in the Masonic Female College. 

My father was very liberal in his donations to such institutions, — always 
active in the cause of educiation. As you are aware, he was eminently 
social, — was remarkably fond of the chase, — always kept a fine pack of 
fox-hounds, the fleetest in the country, as he spared no expense in pro- 
curing them. He was the best horseman I ever saw, and surpassed all 
his companions in his exploits upon the field with his horse and hounds. 
I have frequently seen him from daybreak until nightfall in the chase, 
(of the red fox, the fleetest and most enduring of the species,) and then 
return home and work until twelve or one o'clock in his office. I think 
he was one of the most industrious men I ever knew, and at the same time 
the most social. 

He made companions of his children, and never failed to have them 
with him, when not inconvenient to do so, — upon the circuit, at Wash- 
ington, in his travels, upon the plantation, — and seemed delighted, in 
the chase, to see his sons well mounted, contesting with him the palm of 
horsemanship in leaping fences, ditches, and in keeping nearest the hounds 
in full pursuit through woods and fields. 

^F ^h ^r ^F ^h ^F ^h 

A few months prior to his death he wrote me : — 

'^ I shall return to the practice with all diligence in the spring, and have 
nothing to draw my attention from it, and shall expect to bo pointed at in 
a short time by the people and have them say, ' There is a rising and 
promising young man who will soon make his mark at the bar.' " He 
always contended that he was never over thirty years of age, and that he 
was as able and active at fifty-eight years of age as at thirty-eight. 

The employments Judge Dawson held, in all of which he acquitted 
himself usefully to the public, may be stated : — 

1. Clerk of the Georgia House of Representatives twelve years. 

2. Compiler of the laws of Georgia from 1820 to 1830, — the last 
publication in the quarto form. 

8. Representative in the State Legislature. 

4. Senator in the State Legislature. 

5. Captain of a volunteer company in the Creek War of 1836. 

6. Representative in Congress from 1836 to 1841. 

7. Judge of the Superior Court of the Ocmulgee circuit. 

8. Senator in Congress from 1849 to 1856.* 

While in Congress, he was placed on committees of much labor 
and responsibility, and, as chairman, had frequently to report 
evidence and the result of his investigations. Just before he 
retired from the Senate, the citizens of Washington, through the 
mayor and aldermen, presented him a silver pitcher, or with a 
pair of richly- chased silver goblets, with inscriptions signifying 



* Judge Dawson presided at the great Memphis ConventioQ in 1858. 



800 BENCH AND BAB OF QEORGIA. 

their gratitude for his Bcrvices in behalf of the city as Chairman 
of the District Committee. The ceremony of presentation was 
noticed in the papers at the time. 

As a member of the Masonic Fraternity, Judge Dawson had 
reached the highest elevation. Of the two hundred subordinate 
Lodges in Georgia, perhaps there were but few, if any, which did 
not drape their rooms in mourning and pass resolutions of sym- 
pathy and honor on account of his death. Such an instance of 
universal grief, of such genuine outpouring of the Masonic heart, 
is not to be found elsewhere in the annals of the Order. The 
extracts which follow, from the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 
of Georgia, at its Annual Communication in October, 1856, will 
show in what light he was held by his brethren : — 

P. 10. — R. W. Deputy Grand Master Rockwell, in behalf of the com- 
mittee appoiDted in the morning, under the resolution offered bj Bro. 
A. W. Redding, respecting the death of our late Grand Master, Wm. C. 
Dawson, reported as follows, which report was read and ordered to be 
entered on the minutes : — 

The committee appointed to prepare a suitable tribute to the memoij 
of our late Grand Master beg leave to report: — 

Whereas, It has pleased the Almighty Disposer of events to remove 
from our earthly temple to a higher and holier one, as we devoutly trust, 
our late Grand jflaster, Most Worshipful Wm. C. Dawson, who for 
thirteen years has presided over our deliberations, guiding them by hiB 
wisdom, controlling them by his firmness, and dignifying them by his 
manly and Masonic bearing. While we bow in humble submission to His 
All-wise decree, and acknowledge the solemn importance of the momentous 
truth that man is born to die, we deem it our Masonic duty to place on 
record a fitting testimonial of our afiection for him as a brother and our 
deep and abiding reverence for his memory as a man. Therefore, 

Be it rcsctlvt'dy hy the Grand Lodge of Georgia^ That in the death of 
our late Grand Master we have sustained a loss which human wisdom 
cannot measure. Our onward progress in prosperity has received a check 
which a close imitation of his bright example can alone enable us to over- 
leap ; our Masonic fabric is weakened by a breach of which the broken 
column among our mystic emblems will perpetually remind us; but the 
living sprig of evergreen which a Brother's hand has deposited with hb 
perishable dust in the last home of all the living, with its symbolic teach- 
ings, triumphantly assures us that his undying spirit will live forever, as 
we cheerfully hope, in the realms of a blissful immortality. 

Be it also Resolved, That this memorial to our late beloved presiding 
officer be inserted in a fitting place in the minutes of this Grand Com- 
munication. 

P. 13. — From the report of R. W. Deputy Grand Master 
Gauldinq: — 

On the 7th day of May, having been informed of the sadden death 
of our worthy and honored Grand Master, Wm. C. Dawson, I hastened 
to the village of Greensboro for the purpose of attending hb funeral. 



I 




WILLIAM ^C. DAWSON. 301 

Being the senior officer of this Grand body present, it became my mournful 
duty to conduct the solemn ceremonies. In this I was assisted by 
Worshipful David E. Butler, Senior Grand Warden, beinp; the only other 
Grand officer present. At 3 o'clock p.m., San Marino Lodge convened 
in their room, together with a number of the Brotherhood from the neigh- 
boring counties of Warren, Hancock, Morgan, Taliaferro, Newton, Putnam, 
and other parts of the State. A procession in accordance with the usages 
of our Order was formed, and proceeded to the residence of the deceased. 
A strong desire being manifested by the people generally to behold for 
the last time the face of the honored dead, the procession, composed of 
hundreds, passed through the chamber, where he lay in an open coffin, 
and, with pensive eyes, looked for the last time upon him for whom, while 
living, they entertained feelings of so much kindness and respect. The 
remains were escorted to the Presbyterian Church, where an appropriate 
sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Axsom, President of the Greens- 
boro Female College. The body was then conveyed to the village 
cemetery and deposited in its final resting-place, with the solemn burial- 
ceremonies peculiar to our Order. The occasion was indeed a solemn as 
well as an interesting one. Every person present seemed to feel the force 
of the sudden blow which had fallen upon the community and stricken 
down a strong pillar of our social fabric. To the Masonic Fraternity 
especially the scene was truly aflfecting, calculated to impress every mind 
with awe and fill each bosom with the deepest sorrow. Their beloved 
and honored chief, who had for thirteen years been to them as a father 
and a governor, was taken from them, and they were now left to look for 
a new leader, and search for a new object, around which the broken ten- 
drils of their afiections might be entwined. The interest of the occasion 
was materially enhanced by the presence of the faculty and about one 
hundred of the pupils of the Southern Masonic Female College. An 
appropriate position was assigned them in the procession, next to the 
relatives of the deceased and near the body of their Masonic father. The 
presence of these pupils was peculiarly appropriate. They are the mem- 
bers of an institution under the immediate control and patronage of the 
Grand Lodge of Georgia, at the head of which had so long stood our 
illustrious brother. This school was with him an object of deep solicitude. 
It was his delight to speak of the pupils in the affectionate relation of 
daughters ; hence, it was peculiarly fit and proper that the children should 
follow to the grave the remains of a fond and loving father. It was a 
sight upon which angels might look down with admiration, — to behold one 
hundred young ladies, all dressed in robes of spotless white, the chaste 
emblem of innocence and virtue, marching with solemn tread in the 
funeral procession of their friend and benefactor. While the vast number 
of Brethren present surrounded the grave, forming the mystic chain 
peculiar to our burial-service, these young ladies were alined within the 
large circle in the form of a crescent, thus symbolizing the invisible 
bulwark which Masonry rears around female weakness, virtue, and inno- 
cence. 

I have thus briefly and imperfectly sketched an outline of the solemn 
obsequies of a distinguished man and an illustrious Mason. William C. 
Dawson is dead ; his mortal remains now slumber in silence beneath the 
sod, but his memory, like the evergreen, symbol of immortality, shall 
continue to flourish in perpetual verdure in the remembrance of a grateful 
people and in the hearts of a trusting and aflectionate brotherhood. 



^ 



302 BENCH AND BAIU OF GEOROIA. 

P. 25. From the report of the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand 
Master A. IIood, of the First Masonic District : — 

It would seem needless to remind jou, my Brethren, that since our list 
Annual Communication, Death, that fell destroyer, has been in our midst 
All our hearts feel the sad and melancholy bereavement we have sustained 
in the death of our much-beloved Grand 5laster, Wm. C. Dawson. Out 
Grand Master's chair, which is now temporarily filled by one of year 
chosen substitutes, the absence of that Brother whase cheerful countenance 
and urbane manner lent a charm to our Annual Convocation, remind as 
of our sad bereavement, and teach us the sad but truthful lesson that ''in 
the midst of life we are in death,'' and ''that we know not the day nor 
the hour when the Son of man eometh." To us he was indeed a ^eod 
and a brother. Who of this Grand body whose privilege it was to have 
met with him here year after year, as it were in our annual love-feasfj bat 
feel the sad loss we have sustained? While dwelling on our loss we should 
endeavor to recall the many excellencies of character which endeared him 
to us, and that secured our respect and affection while living, heartfelt 
tears at his death, and a memory precious to all who esteem goodness so 
thoroughly manifested and so purely preserved. He was indeed happily 
constituted. Of manners gentle, of affections mild. His manner and 
heart won that confidence that was never forfeited, his goodness and 
greatness that love and affection that was never lost or impaired. 

P. 62. From the address of the Most Worshipful Grand Master 
of New York, Joseph D. Evans : — 

In a communication recently received from the R. W. Wm. S. Rock- 
well, Deputy Grand Master of Georgia, was conveyed the melancholy intel- 
ligence of the death of the Grand Master of that State, the Most Worship- 
ful the Honorable William C. Dawson. His death will not only be felt 
by the Craft in that jurisdiction, but the whole country will sympathiie 
with them in his loss. He was a zealous Mason, a true patriot, and a 
highly honorable and noble statesman. For years he had been Grand 
Master, and for years a member of the United States Senate, representing 
Georgia. In both of these prominent positions his amiability and wisdom 
won for him the esteem and respect of all his peers. He had a strong 
hold upon the affections of his brethren, and was beloved by all who knew 
him. But he has gone to his eternal home. His spirit has fled to God 
who gave it ; but his memory will remain deeply impressed upon our 
hearts, to flourish there as the green bay-tree. Thus for a brief period do 
our bright lights display their effulgence in sparkling and glittering rays, 
and then pass from us forever. 

The official circular of the Deputy Grand Master, communicating the 
sad intelligence, was afterward read by the Grand Secretary and referred 
to a special committee, who reported the following resolutions : — 

Rcsolvrtl^ That the (jrand Lodge of New York has heard with emotioos 
of heartfelt sorrow of the decease of the M.W. and Hon. Wm. C. Dawson, 
the Grand Master of Georgia, alike distinguished for his ability and 
patriotism ns a statesman and as a wise and accomplished Mason. 

Jioiolvcflj That wo sincerely sympathize with our Brethren in Georgia 
in the loss of one who has added wisdom, prudence, and energy to their 
counsels, who gave additional lustre to the distinguished station he has so 
ably filled, and whose fame and memory will not only be cherished by the 



WILLIAM O. DAWSON. 303 

Brethren of his State, hut is the heritage of the Craft throughout the 
Union. 

Resolvedy That the R.W. Grand Secretary transmit a certified copy of 
these resolutions to the M.W. Grand Lodge of Georgia. 

P. 77. Bro. H. P. Bell, from the committee appointed in relation to 
the erection of a monument over the grave of our late deceased Grand 
Ma.ster, Wm. C. Dawson, made a report, which was amended and adopted 
as follows : — 

The undersigned committee, to whom was referred the resolutions sub- 
mitted to the consideration of the Grand Lodge by Baber Lodge, No. 123, 
and San Marino Lodge, No. 34, in relation to the erection of a marble 
monument in memory of our late lamented Grand Master, Hon. William 
C. Dawson, and also the resolution in relation to the procurement of a 
portrait of our deceased Grand Master, to be placed in the East of the 
Grand Lodge hall, have had the same under consideration ; and respect- 
fully submit, — That his eminent public services, his resplendent virtues 
88 a citizen, and his unswerving devotion to the tenets of our cherished 
and time-honored Order, and the elevated position which he so long held 
and so nobly adorned as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, 
all conspire to render it proper that we should perpetuate his memory and 
virtues in some enduring and substantial mjinner. 

There/ore Resolved^ That the sum of 81200 be, and it is hereby, appro- 
priated by the Grand Lodge, out of any funds now in the treasury not 
otherwise disposed of, to be expended in the erection of a suitable monu- 
ment (of white marble) in memory of the Hon. Wm. C. Dawson, deceased, 
late Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, and that the treasurer 
is hereby authorized * to pay the same to a committee hereafter to be 
appointed to superintend the erection of the same. 

Besoivedy That a suitable sum be, and the same is hereby, appropriated 
to be expended in the procurement of a lifelike portrait of our deceased 
Grand Master, to be placed in the East of the Masonic hall of the Grand 
Lodge of Georgia. 

A committee to carry out the object of the above report was appointed 
by the M.W. Grand Master, consisting of Brothers H. P. Bell, Y. P. King, 
K. A. Lane, Wm. Cox, H. Greene, L. H. Featherston, and D. E. Butler. 

The members of the bar at various courts gave expression to 
their feelings on the occasion. The proceedings of the Supreme 
Court of Georgia, held at Macon, June Term, 1856, are of record : — 

Upon the opening of the court, the Hon. E. A. Nisbet, formerly one of 
the judges, announced the death of Hon. William C. Dawson as 
follows : — 

May it please your Honors : — It is proper to arrest the business of 
the court, and, standing around the grave of a deceased brother, contem- 
plate for a few moments the virtues which ennobled his character. It is a 
matter of serious thought and of painful interest that, within a short 
period of time, we have been called to bury so many of the distinguished 
members of the bar of this court. The brilliant and almost faultless 
Charlton ; the strong, honest, upright, and independent Dougherty ; the 
eloquent, accomplished, and profound Berrien ; Judge Colquitt, the ear- 
nest, ardent, impulsive, and generous man of genius, and* the accurate and 
learned Miller. Nor are these all. Others have died within a short period 



804 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

of time not undistinguished or wanting in merit. Now wc add to tlie list 
Judge Dawson, who recently departed this life at his residence inGreen*- 
horo. They are all beyond that bourne whence no traveller returns. They 
are silent, yet they speak : they arc dead, yet they live in the record of 
their lives. It becomes us to profit by their virtues and to take the warn- 
ing which their death affords. We, too, are mortals. It is appointed 
unto man once to die, and then the judgment. Verily, until our time 
comes we are immortal, and when it arrives we are merely mortal. Arch- 
angels' arm cannot pluck us hence : legions of angels cannot hold us here. 
Occasions like the present are melancholy, yet they are not altogether 
painful. Even when we come to bury our dead there is a mixture of 
pleasure in the solemn service. It is our necessity to mourn their loss, 
but it is our privilege to rejoice in the achievements of their life. It is 
manly to weep beside the bier of a departed friend, and the tear that falls 
upon his grave meets, as it descends, a smile which, springing from the 
heart, mantles the face as memory traces his generous traits and noble 
deeds. The departed members of the bar are never dead. When in life 
they were our keepers and we their keepers. United in the bonds of pro- 
fessional brotherhood, linked together by habits of close association, accus- 
tomed to similar trains of thought and investigation, and holding in our 
mutual custody the honor of our class, the character and distinctions of 
each are the property to no small extent of all. And to each belongs the 
responsibilities of all. Are we not brothers ? And when a brother de- 
scends to the tomb, shall not we rejoice in the good fortune of his life. — 
exult in the triumphs of his genius and learning, and emulate his virtues? 
Shall we not protect his fame and reputation, and watch around hb grave 
as kindred guard the resting-place of their dead ? The lesson taught os 
in the death of these eminent gentlemen is, that the ways of wealth and 
honor and social life — indeed, all the paths of glory — lead but to the tomb. 

In relation to Judge Dawson, allow me to say that I have known him 
from my childhood, and, on account of my long and intimate association 
with him, I feel at liberty to speak with some confidence. I can but speak 
with sensibility, for he was my friend. When quite a child I met him at 
my first school, — a school taught by Rev. Dr. Gumming, in Greene county, 
in the neighborhood where we were both born. He was then a youth of 
some seventeen or eighteen years of age, with the stature of a man. A few 
years in advance of me when I came to the bar, he was, for a young man, 
in the enjoyment of a handsome practice. Living in the same circuit with 
him, I was in the habit, for twelve years of my professional life, of attend- 
ing the same courts that he attended, and therefore saw a great deal of 
him. I was with him in the State Legislature and in the Congress of the 
United States. I saw him occasionally on the bench and was not unfre- 
quently an inmate of his family. On the wayside, at village taverns, in 
the court, in legislative halls, among the people, in the highest circles of 
the Federal City, and under his own roof, surrounded with hLs family and 
friends, he was always cheerful, affable, genial, kind, and just. No one 
sympathized more promptly or more sincerely with the troubles or joys of 
others. His hand was always open to the claims of charity, and to public 
objects he ever gave an early and effective support. Under all circum- 
stances he was a gentleman and an honest man. Is not that his highest 
eulogiuni y For what are talents, or riches, or honors, without those attri- 
butes which constitute the gentleman ? The occasion does not warrant 
any elaborate review of Judge Dawson's character as lawyer, citizen, states- 




WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 805 

man, master, husband, and parent. If it did, it would be no unpleasant 
or unprofitable task to undertake its elucidation. I cannot forbear, how- 
ever, to say that, amid all the agitations of his political life, such was his 
amiable and upright bearing that he never forfeited the respect of his 
adversaries, and very often, indeed, secured their warm personal regard. 
He was a patriot. He loved his country, — his whole country. He was a 
thorough-working, practical legislator. In my poor judgment, he gave as 
few bad votes, whilst in the Senate of the United States, as any member 
of that august body. He maintained as stringently and as wisely as any 
other man the rights of his section, and was at the same time eminently 
conservative, looking steadily to the interests of the whole Union. But 
I will not detain you longer. His body sleeps beneath the soil of his 
nativity. May his character be ever a living presence among us ! 

On motion of Judge Nisbet, seconded by Col. H. G. Lamar, a com- 
mittee, consisting of Hon. E. A. Nisbet, Col. Henry G. Lamar, Hon. Lotc 
Warren, Col. Hines Holt, and Washington Poe, Esq., was appointed to 
report to the court suitable resolutions on Monday morning next. 

Monday morning, Jane 80, 1856. 

The Hon. E. A. Nisbet, chairman of the committee, made the following 
report: — 

The committee appointed to report upon the death of the Hon. Wm. C. 
Dawson beg leave to submit the following resolutions : — 

Resolved, 1. That it is a matter of serious reflection as well as pro- 
found regret that within a few years so many of the leading minds and 
beautiful ornaments of the profession have been summoned to the grave. 
Charlton, Dougherty, Colquitt, Berrien, Miller, and others, with startling 
rapidity have followed each other from the scenes of earth to the realities 
of eternity. The places that knew them — the bar, the bench, the Senate, 
the walks of private life, and their own firesides — know them no more. 
Still they live in the record of their virtues, in the memory of affection 
and of friendship, and in the recognition of their genius and learning. 
They were the guiding lights of this bar; and it is a pride and a solace to 
know that, though dead, they yet speak. To this brilliant list of departed 
worthies it is now our painful duty to add the Hon. William Crosby 
Dawson, who died at his residence in Greensboro, in the month of May 
last. 

2. That whilst we rejoice that our brother died in the full vigor of his 
faculties, bodily and mental, before age had impaired his capacity either for 
enjoyment or for the duties of his high station, we mourn his departure at 
a time when those faculties gave promise of long usefulness to the State 
and the nation. 

3. That we who knew him (and he was known to the bar and people 
of Georgia more generally as a familiar acquaintance than almost any man 
in the State) realize his removal from our social, political, and professional 
circles as a personal bereavement. And many, very many, beyond the 
limits of our own State have heard the announcement of his death with 
the most poignant anguish ; for, to a greater extent than most men, he 
possessed the power of electing and securing the affection and esteem of 
all who had the good fortune of coming within the influence of his agree- 
able manners and genial spirit. Political rivalry and party struggles had 
no power to cool his friends, or to heat his adversaries. Men differed 

with and opposed; but at the same time loved and respected him. 
Vol. I.— 20 



306 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGU. 

4. That we testify that with industry, integrity, and honor he performed 
the duties of a lawyer; that with impartiality and ahility he administered 
the law ; that with fidelity and assiduity, with unconsciousness and effi- 
ciency, he executed the numerous puhlio trusts to which he was called ; 
and that wc respect and would emulate those qualities of head and heart 
which raised him from undistinguished and not very propitious beginnings 
to Senatorial dignity, and there sustained him respectably among the 
greatest minds of the nation. 

5. That he is chiefly to be admired for the amiable virtues of private 
life. His hand was ever open to the calls of charity ; his means were 
liberally appropriated to the necessities of his relations; his house was 
the peat of a frank, free, and profuse hospitality ; and in his family he 
enforced and obeyed but one law, and that was the law of kindno^. 

6. That these multiplying memorials demonstrate the inevitable cer- 
tainty of death, and that neither wealth, nor honors, nor genius, nor 
learning, nor social position can for one moment postpone its advent, 
and that they impressively warn us also to be ready so that when called 
we may go in peace. 

7. That these resolutions bo entered on the minutes of this court, that 
they be published in the city papers, and a copy be transmitted to the 
family of the deceased. 

To which Judge Lumpkin, in behalf of the court, responded as fol- 
lows : — 

Judge Dawson acted a prominent part in the State and nation for more 
than thirty years. He was one of two of the most efficient Senators of the 
Congress of the United States. He was the intimate and cherished asso- 
ciate of Clay and Webster, the trusted and confidential adviser of Presi- 
dent Fillmore, — and thus distinguished and honored was no ordinary 
citizen. 

But, after all, it is as a man that those who knew the deceased best will 
love to contemplate him. There was a daily beauty in his life which won 
every heart, lie was benevolent, liberal, and charitable, in the best and 
broadest sense of those terms. His mansion was ever the home of the 
most elegant hospitality, and the invitation was, " Come one, come all." 

The flatterers of George IV. of England were accustomed to speak of 
that royal debauchee as the ^^Jirsf (pmtleman in Europe." How much 
more properly might Wm. C. Dawson be held up to the imitation of all, 
and especially the young, as the first gentleman in Georgia ! To the bar 
and the people his example in this respect has been of inestimable value. 
May it long be remembered ! 

While the deceased never forsook the political opinions which he first 
embraced, but retained his confidence in them to the last, he was never- 
theless always remarkable for his moderation ; and even by his political 
opponents no one in matters of personal delicacy and difficulty was con- 
fided in more. 

Is not the death of such a man in the prime of manhood a great public 
loss ? No wonder that a thousand mourners — collected, many of them, 
from neighboring towns — assembled to witness his funeral. His death 
stirred, apparently, the popular heart more than that of the great Troup 
himself or any other contemporary. The truth is that no one had more 
friends or fewer enemies. 

The departure of such a man so suddenly severs so many ties^ interrupts 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 807 

BO many delights, withdraws so many confidences, leaves such an aching 
void in the hearts of family and friends, and such a sense of desolation 
among associates, that, while we how suhmissively to the divine decree, 
onr griefs cannot hut pour themselves out in heartfelt lamentations. 

A true extract from the minutes. Eob't E. Martin, 

CUrh, 

Since the foregoing memoir was prepared, the author has received 
from the Hon. E. A. Nisbet a communication which cannot fail 
to gratify the immediate friends of Judge Dawson, as well as the 
public at large. Knowing their intimate personal relations of long 
standing, their service together in Congress, their practice at the 
same bar, the author applied to Judge Nisbet for a sketch of his 
departed friend, to be used in this memoir. Before introducing it, 
the author takes this method of thanking Judge Nisbet. A con- 
tribution of this kind from one who, besides having filled other high 
stations with talent and dignity, was eight years on the bench of 
the Supreme Court of Georgia, leaving in some fifteen volumes of 
reports the impress of his acknowledged geniufe, exact scholarship, 
and great legal ability, is of no common value ; and, as such, it is 
with peculiar satisfaction given here as an 

ADDITIONAL SKETCH. 
'< Si quid loquar audicndum.'* — Hob. lib. iv. Ode 2. 

I am very sure that this brief sketch of one of Georgia's best men will 
speak something worthy of being heard. Biography more than history is 
philosophy teaching by example. What men have done men may do 
again. Example is the living teacher. Obstacles overcome, impediments 
removed, competition mastered, wealth attained, and distinction won, are 
incentives to virtue and stimulants to effort. Errors corrected and vices 
eradicated are lights to guide and beacons to warn. Honor and fame, 
fairly achieved, stir the spirits of noble men to a generous emulation. 
Professional rivalry is one of the chief sources of professional greatness. 
One good and great man reproduces himself by acting upon that principle 
in our nature which constrains us to admire virtue and to emulate 
greatness. 

There is something very beautiful in the rivalry of really great men : it 
18 sometimes, indeed, a sublime spectacle. Take the career of two great 
lawyers for example, — the two Scotts, Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell. They 
were brothers in blood and kindred in genius. Their emulation was not 
one of interest, but for renown. Starting upon the same level, they ran 
an equal though divergent course. The triumphs of one but guaranteed 
the triumphs of the other. The glory of one reflected glory upon the 
other. The reputation of each was a joint possession. They ran abreast 
and together reached the goal. They entered the British peerage, and 
their names are immortal. Our own country affords illustrious instances 
of professional contests waged by the Anaks of the law, — contests far 
exceeding in interest the most gorgeous displays of imperial gladiatorship 
at Rome, — contests which arouse a city, command the criticism of the 



308 BENCH AND BAR OF GEOROIA. 

press, enlist the sympathies of women, and attract the observation of a 
nation. Such an one was exhibited in the trial of Burr at Richmond. 
Such was the first trial of strength at Boston, between Mr. Wirt and 
Mr. Webster, in the case of Famum, admr., i-s. Brooks, — the former a 
Southern champion, armed with learning, eloquence, wit, and a national 
reputation, the latter an Eastern savan, ponderous in solid lore, brilliaat 
in all the furniture of letters, an adroit rhetorician, and of peerless pro- 
fessional renown. This was a contest in which we are constrained to 
admit that the vanquished was no less a victor than he who conquered. 
It is a study for the ambitious young men of the Union. In contem- 
plating, let them look deeper into it than the forensic scene will allow. 
Let them reflect how much of intense labor, how much of uprightness, 
and how much of elegant culture entered into the fitness of such men for 
such a struggle. Emulation of Ilortensius contributed to make Cicero — 
who was the wisest and best of all the Pagan world — the foremost orator 
of all ages. Hortcnsius was, on account of his eloquence, called King of 
the Forum : — " in /ero ob eloquent iam rege causarum.** Cicero wrested 
the sceptre from his hand and wielded it without a rival. 

Now, I do not propose to place Judge Dawson in the same niche with 
these immortal names. Ilis position as a lawyer was far below theirs, 
albeit not wanting in elevation. His sense of truth and justice would, 
were he alive, be shcjcked by such a pretension. It is not necessary; 
since, without that, he was entitled to the respect of the world for virtues 
peculiarly his own, and for a position in itself distinguished. These reflec- 
tions are germain to the purposes of this publication. Those purposes are 
to bring before the country the character of deceased members of the bar 
of Georgia ; to illustrate the action of free government upon a profession 
which has more to do in its actual administration than any other; to 
demonstrate the fact that lawyers are the greatest of all the conservators of 
liberty ; to inspire among the people a truer estimate of the professional 
character; to stimulate to honor, zeal, and industry that great body of 
men who aspire to the distinctions of the bar ; and, ^rther, to perpetuate 
those intellectual peculiarities and amiable qualities of heart which have 
so strikingly characterized the profession. It is sad to reflect that, whilst 
the profession of the law exacts the severest labor, demands the most pro- 
found learning and the most liberal cultivation, and evokes the most bril- 
liant displays of genius, yet it affords no record, for the most part, of the 
greatness of its ornaments. We would catch the glory as it flies and fix 
it upon the memory of men. To this end we present an outline-sketch 
of the lamented Dawson. 

William C. Dawson was born in Greene county, Georgia, of respect- 
able parentage, — a county among the first settled in the interior, and 
which has given birth to more men of note than any other in the State. 
At the time when his parents settled in Greene it was a frontier-county. 
The Indians had not been removed from the western bank of the Oconee, 
and they, in common with others, encountered the hardships and perils 
incident to all early settlements in our Western and Southwestern States. 
Privations, self-denial, self-reliance, and courage were among their virtues 
and their experiences. I mention these things to show that Judge Daw- 
son sprung from a vigorous, sturdy stock, and claims nothing upon the 
score of birth and the aids which numerous friends, strong connections, 
and accumulat<:d wealth bestow, in behalf of the honors which awaited 



WILLIAM C. DAWSOX. 309 

him. His parents were honest and frugal, "well-to-do" for that day, and 
appreciated the advantages of education so high as to hcstow upon their 
son the best that the country could at that time afford. That they gave, 
and left him to become the artificer of his own fortunes. We shall 
sec that he framed them well, and cut his way to the highest places in 
the State. His academic course was taken under the direction, first, of 
the Rev. Dr. Gumming, a Scotch-Irish divine of great learning and piety, 
and, afterward, at the county academy in the town of Greensboro. 
At an early age he entered Franklin College, the State university, and 
was graduated from that institution in 1816. Upon leaving college ho 
entered at once upon the study of the law in the office of Hon. Thos. W. 
Cobb, at Lexington. With Mr. Cobb, who was one of the leading lawyers 
and politicians of the State, and scarcely inferior to any man in it for 
strength of mind and enlightened statesmanship, he remained about one 
year, when he entered the law-school at Litchfield, Connecticut, under 
the care of Judges Reeve and Gould, two of the most accomplished jurists 
in New England, and the best law-instructors then in the Union. Having 
taken a full course of lectures at Litchfield, he returned home and was 
admitted to the bar in Greensboro in 1818. There, in the county of 
his nativity, he opened an office and entered at once upon the labors of 
the profession. He came to the bar at a time when its honors and emolu- 
ments were severely contested. There were reapers in the field beside 
himself, — men of active, cultivated minds, ambitious hopes, and ardent, 
energetic purposes. By the time of Mr. Dawson's maturity the Ocmul- 
gee circuit had become one of the best in the State. Its rich counties 
had filled with a wealthy and highly-respectable population; its social, 
business, and political advantages, together with the reputation of some of 
the judges who had presided over it, attracted to it the best talent of the 
State. It was then, and is yet, distinguished for the ability and energy 
of its bar. 

To contend with such men was no holiday-sport j but our debutant 
girded himself for the struggle. With a joyous heart, a buoyant tempera- 
ment, and a vigorous constitution, he buckled on the professional harness. 
Soon his clients began to multiply and fees to cheer his toil. He was not 
long in taking position in the first rank of the Ocmulgee bar, — a position 
which he always maintained with honor and also with profit. With liberal 
habits of living, his profession soon made him independent. He is yet 
another illustration of the fact that in our country the profession is the 
road to wealth and fame, and also that it is the mean by which the most 
salutary elements of character are made available in influencing the aflfairs 
of communities and nations. With the exception of the short period of 
time that Judge Dawson was on the bench of the Ocmulgee circuit, and 
of those longer periods devoted exclusively to politics, he was, up to the 
day of his death, a laborious practitioner. He may be said to have died 
in harness ; for, after he became a member of the United States Senate, 
the recess of Congress was occupied with professional labors. At the 
latest period of his life he mingled freely, and with his wonted effective- 
ness and relish, in the contests of the bar. Like the mettled habitue of 
the turf, when he approached the field of his former struggles he inconti- 
nently took the course. This figure is not only apt as an illustration, but 
in harmony with his tastes, for he delighted in the sports of the turf and 
of the field. His hounds and blooded steeds were his subordinate pets. 
He loved the echo of the mellow horn, the dashing ride, the in-comiug at 



810 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

the death, and the festive glee that crowned the chase. Upon such occft- 
sions the dignity of the Senator gave place to the harmless abandon of 
the boy. 

For many years all other things were subordinated to his profession. I 
will not say that he was born a statesman, but I should not err much if I 
should say that he was born a politician. Yet the necessities of his family 
and the wants of others more or less dependent upon him, acting upon ha 
clear sense of personal obligation in his private relations, constrained him 
to hold in check hb fondness for political life ; and if at this early day he 
had visions of political glory, it was ^'distance that lent enchantment to 
the view.'' In connection with his professional life it may be remarked 
that in 1828, being then a young man, he was elected by the Legislature 
to compile the statutes of Georgia. Thb commission he executed to the 
satisfaction of the General Assembly and of the profession at large. In 
1845 he was appointed by Gov. Crawford to fill a vacancy on the bench 
of the Ocmulgee circuit. When the Legislature convened, he declined 
being a candidate for the bench, and returned to the practice, influenced 
to this course, no doubt, by a desire to pursue the more brilliant career of 
Congressional life then opening to his view. Had he desired it, there can 
be no doubt but that he would have been elected to the bench, and that 
without opposition from his own party, then in the ascendant in the Legis- 
. lature. The term of his presidency over the Ocmulgee circuit was short, 
and, as the opinions of the circuit judges are not reported, he has left no 
record of his judicial mind. His manner upon the bench was patient, 
urbane, and frank, his intercourse with the bar always pleasant ; and into 
this service he carried those habits of industry which have characterized 
him everywhere. Wherever he has been placed, he has been a working- 
man. A large professional experience, a clear, strong sense of justice, 
unimpeached and unimpeachable honesty of purpose, and assiduous atten- 
tion to every thing appertaining to his office, combined to give to his 
administration such a character of fairness and consistency and efficiency 
as left no room for the complaints or censures of the most critical of all 
reviewers, — an able bar. Although the most affiible of men, open to the 
approaches of every honest class of the people at appropriate times, relishing 
keenly the flash of forensic wit and the play of popular humor, and 
despising that false dignity which so often covers shallow minds and cold 
hearts, yet few of our judges maintained with better eff*ect the grave 
earnestness, the quiet order, and the solemn authority so necessary to the 
administration of justice. With steady hand he balanced the scales; and 
the best commentary upon his brief administration is found in the uncom- 
plaining acquiescence of bar and people in the soundness, independence, 
and impartiality of his judgments. 

In a survey of Judge Dawson's professional character, his friends are 
struck with his industry. He was always found present at the opening 
and adjournment of his courts. Whether remote or near at band, his 
attendance was always prompt and continuous with the term. I have 
before adverted to the fact that he permitted no other engagement, no call 
of business, or invitation of pleasure, or attractiveness of pursuit, to with- 
draw him from his practice. This was eminently true during the earlier 
years of his professional life. The result was that his clients multiplied 
and business accumulated on his hands. His clients enlisted not only his 
professional ability, but his personal sympathy. He identified himself 
with his cause ; and, whibt they relied upon him as the advocate and 



^ 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 811 

jurist, they courted his presence as a friend. Hb demonstrations of per- 
sonal regard for those who retained him as a lawyer were not the fruit of 
policy, but were the developments of a kind and affectionate nature. In 
the courts and in tavern-halls, on the wayside and in grave assemblies, bis 
sympathies witb the people found means of expression. Without effort on 
his part, he was always the centre of a listening crowd, eager to know his 
opinions and to catch the playful humor of his conversation. He knew 
more men personally than any man of his day; and those he did not know 
he seemed to know. A cordial grasp of the hand, a word of recognition, 
a bow, a pleasant inquiry, or a bantering salutation, as well as good offices, 
were the price which he was wont to pay for golden opinions. But let it not 
be understood that for selfish ends he thus bought the favor of the people. 
That a man of his sagacity should not know that such means would result 
in available popularity is not a possible conclusion ; yet those who knew 
him well are convinced that, irrespective of availability to such an end, his 
mode of intercourse would have been the same. As proof of his attrac- 
tiveness as a man, and in memory of the kindliness of his nature, let it 
be recorded that many of his clients, whilst opposed to him in opinion, 
sustained him as a politician. Rarely, indeed, do party-ties yield to the 
claims of private friendship. The former are usually stronger than even 
those of nature. The personal qualities referred to, with his firm mind 
and strong, pure character, made him for many years the most popular 
man in Georgia. 

His knowledge of men was very remarkable, as well as his tact in their 
management. If required to name that quality of mind which, more 
than any other, contributed to a career as a lawj'cr and statesman which 
cannot be designated otherwise than as brilliant, I should point to his 
power of insight into character. No man knew bettxir how to control the 
conduct of others by touching those springs of action which are hid from 
the ordinary observer. This faculty was native ; yet it derived efficiency 
from a large experience. He studied men as some people study books, 
and made a better use of them than philosophers often make of the facts 
of science. In the extracting of testimony from an unwilling witness, 
in its elucidation before the jury, in the selection of jurymen, in ** fencing 
and foining" witb an adversary, in detecting the idiosyncrasies of 
the judge, and more especially in exposing fraud lurking in the details 
of complicated transactions, it availed him as an instrument of tremen- 
dous power. Shrewd and quick of eye, he was prompt to seize a vantage- 
ground, to recover from a false move, or to discover and storm the weak 
points in a cause. He knew when to beat a retreat, or how to capitulate 
with the honors of war, — to break the force of an argument by a timely 
jest, or to overwhelm his antagonist with the clear, outstanding equity 
of his case. And if, perchance, there was any thing ludicrous in the 
claims or conduct of the adverse litigant, he was wont to ignore gravity 
and "laugh the case out of court.'' Without disparaging his learning, it 
may be conceded that he was most powerful in the management of a 
cause and as an advocate. 

In legal discussions he relied more upon elementary principles than 
adjudicated cases, and was greatly indebted to the native suggestions of a 
vigorous mind. His was not the error of crushing a case under accumu- 
lated authority, or the folly of stifling it in a cloud of remote analogies. 
If it was not his habit (like his great contemporary, John Macpherson Ber- 
rien) to reduce an argument to mathematical exactness whilst he clothed 



312 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

it in the drapery of the most exquisite rhetoric, jet it was his good for- 
tune to see the strong points of a cause and to present them with a sturdy 
logic. 

Judge Dawson was noted among his brethren for his skill in settling 
cases out of court, — more especially such as he foresaw would scarcely bo 
settled favorably in the court-house. He knew the value of compro- 
mising. Nor is it otherwise than true that his out-door settlements were 
characterized by liberality and forbearance. At all events, the loser not 
unfrequeutly came out of his hands believing that he was, after all, the 
favored party. 

It was his thorough knowledge of human nature that enabled him to 
adapt himself with such peculiar facility to the company he might chance 
to be in. He was not a learned man ; yet he was at home more than 
most men in a circle of savans. And he was equally at his ease on the 
streets of Greensboro and at the dinings of Count Bodisco, at Wash- 
ington. He was all things to all men, — not in the sense of hypocritical 
adaptation, but of amiable accommodation. 

The person is to be considered in acquiring correct views of a man. 
Especially is it an element of strength or of weakness in oratory. In 
this regard he was favored. He was above medium height, but well knit, 
combining strength with activity. His face would attract the observation 
of a stranger, not because of its intellectuality, but through its benevo- 
lent and various expression. His voice was strong, his walk elastic, and 
his attitude erect. And pleasant indeed it was to observe the move- 
ments of his small, quick, vigilant, and hilarious gray eyes. He was a 
free and ready speaker, rather vehement in manner, handling facts with 
adroitness and arguments with force. He owed little to the schools or 
the classics. He was not wanting in sensibility, (the soul of true elo- 
(}uence,) nor in a just appreciation of great themes or great occasions. 
Hence his most successful efforts were made when some great question of 
popular right had stirred the masses, or the life or estate of a client hung 
upon the verdict of a jury. At such times he was eloquent. Sensible 
himself to every generous or noble or compassionate emotion, and detest- 
ing every form of meanness, I have seen the listening jurj' melt beneath 
his appeals or glow beneath the fire of his denunciations. 

The writer has often heard him say that he was a diffident man, and 
that he rarely arose to address the court or jury without a distressing 
sense of embarrassment. His contemporaries, who have for years wit- 
nessed his easy self-reliance in the court-room, I am sure will be slow to 
believe this. Yet I am not myself incredulous. The inward experience, 
I have no doubt, was as he represented it, but not so the external exhibi- 
tion. A strong will and long habitude enabled him to master — and that 
very effectually — any natural tendencies toward diffidence or self- distrust. 
Like every other wise man, he felt the insufficiency of his knowledge and 
the limited range of his capabilities; and, like every other determined 
man, he disciplined his nature to put forth its strength when the neces- 
sities of times and occasions required it. 

In a review of Judge Dawson's political career, one has occasion to 
note the influence of the profession upon his success, and also upon his 
political opinions. The law has been often called the stepping-stone to 
politics, — which means, I suppose, that it is an available instrument to be 
used in the outset of political life. Usage has sanctioned this phrase- 
i)h»gy, as expressing truly the relation between the science of the law and 




WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 813 

the science of goverDtnent. I protest against the phrase and the idea 
which it conveys, as degrading to the most honorable of all the merely 
secular professions. The practice of the law brings its votary promioently 
before the people. The discussions of the court-house make him known 
and create for him a public character, — a popularity which brings politi- 
cal promotion, beginning usually in the county of his residence, and not 
unfrequently terminating in the highest offices of the National Govern- 
ment. Standing upon this stone, he steps into politics. Thus far and 
no farther is this saying true. 

But, in truth, the science of the law is inseparably connected with the 
science of government, embracing as the latter does the rights of men 
as political communities with reference to political constitutions, and the 
rights of nations with reference to each other. Constitutional law and 
the laws of nations arc not separable from municipal law. The study and 
application of the laws which regulate personal rights are not distinguish- 
able from the study and application of the principles of good government, 
nor from those rules which prescribe the rights and obligations of states 
in the great community of nations. The study of each and all of these 
is the study of the wide, deep science of justice amang men. Without 
amplifying upon so great a theme, it may be assumed as true that no 
man can be a great American statesman without being a profound lawyer. 
And it is generally true that an able lawyer, if an honest man, will be a 
liberal yet a conservative statesman. lie whose mind is thoroughly im- 
bued with the principles of the common law, of the civil law, and of the 
equity jurisprudence of England and America can scarcely be an unsound 
politician. It is therefore claimed for Judge Dawson that his training as 
a lawyer contributed greatly to make him a conservative, enlightened poli- 
tician ; for all these he was. 

Two years after his admission to the bar, — to wit, in 1821, — he was 
elected Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State Legislature. 
TThis place he filled for ten or eleven consecutive years, through frequent 
changes of party supremacy, — no inconclusive evidence, this, of his fidelity 
as an officer and his amiable character as a man. Indeed, it was here 
that he laid the foundation of that remarkable popularity which he has 
always enjoyed. As Clerk of the House for so many years, he had the 
means of becoming personally acquainted with leading men from every 
section of the State. Familiar with the forms of business, and obliging 
in his disposition, he gave his aid to all such as needed it. Prompted by 
his amiable disposition as well as the policy of the thing, he never per- 
mitted an opportunity to go unimproved of making a friend or of con- 
ciliating an opponeot. It is true that he was always (as before intimated) 
a man of the people, and was never known to pass a sovcrelyn without a 
shake of the hand and a pleasant word. This was, however, more the 
outgoing of his buoyant spirit than the cold working of a selfish policy, — 
more the generous recognition of the claims of all men upon his courtesy 
thao the forecasting of the political aspirant. Never, however, has he 
been known in political action to pander to popular prejudice or yield 
principle to popular passion. On the contrary, with unyielding firmness, 
he testified his devotion to the people by pursuing such a course and ad- 
vocating such measures a.«, in his judgment, would promote their true in- 
terest. In the outset he took position with the State-Rights party of 
Georgia, then better known as the Crawford party, and subsequently as 
the Troup party, and later and for many years as the Whig party. To 



314 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

the fortunes of the Whig party he adhered with unwavering consistency. 
Supporting the Compromise measures of 1850 in the Senate, he was one 
of the leaders of that great mass of Georgia Whigs and Democrats who 
organized the Constitutional Union party, and, as most men believe, saved 
the Union in 1851. His political opinions were those of the Southern 
Whig party, — eminently conserv^ative, true to the Constitution, insisting 
upon the faithful observance of its compromises, and of unquestioned 
loyalty to the Union. For many years after he entered upon active life, 
the war of parties raged in Georgia with fearful violence. The history 
of that war this is not the place to trace. He might with truth say of it, 
"Magna pars fui." Gallantly did he bear himself in those struggles for 
many years. It is proper to say of him that, when the storm was at its 
height of violence, he could boast of more personal friends among his 
political opponents than almost any man of the day. 

In 1834, he entered especially into politics, being returned for that 
year and the following year (1835) to the State Senate from the county 
of Greene. There he was known to the State as a diligent business- 
member, sustaining with able advocacy all the great interests of Georgia, — 
among them, education, internal improvements, a sound currency, equal 
representation, equal taxation, reform in prison discipline, and a court for 
the correction of errors. It was about this time that the State began to 
move in those great works which have pushed her ahead of her Southern 
sisters and crowned her queen of the Southern tier. To these he lent his 
efficient aid both in and out of the Legislature. 

In 183G, he was elected to Congress. Georgia elected at that time by 
general ticket. Judge Dawson was the only Whig returned, prevailing 
over a popular Democratic majority by reason of his extraordinary per- 
sonal popularity. General Coffee, a member of Congress from Georgia in 
1836, having died, he was elected to fill his unexpired term, and took his 
seat in the winter of that year in the House of Representatives. The 
Creek and Seminole Indians in Florida and on the line of Georgia be- 
coming hostile in 1836, and threatening depredations, Judge Dawson 
raised a very handsome volunteer company, to the command of which ho 
was unanimously chosen, and, under the authority of the State Govern- 
ment, took the field. Having fulfilled with judgment and discretion the 
duties of this new post, he returned to his home, still more endeared to a 
people who had found him as willing to serve them in the field as in the 
Legislature. 

General Scott, who had at that time taken the conduct of the Florida 
war, gave him a separate command, and detailed him upon a special ser- 
vice, which he performed to the satisfaction of that great captain. 

He was re-elected, together with the entire Whig ticket, in 1838, and 
ako in 1840. For the first time for many years, in 1838 the State re- 
turned an entire Whig representation to Congress, the subject of this 
sketch leading the electoral triumph. But it seems that the course of 
popularity, like that of true love, never does run smooth, — never, cer- 
tainly, through a public life. Our popular favorite was destined to expe- 
rience one of those reverses to which all public men are liable. He from 
his "pride of place*' fell into disfavor, a victim to popular caprice, real- 
izing one division of Burke's aphorism, that popularity may be acquired 
without a single virtue and lost without a single fault. The popular frown 
did not, however, long rest upon him. Popular honesty, rectified in its 
judgment by knowledge, soon reinstated him, and, like a fabulous hero of 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 315 

antiquity, he may be said to have gained strength by his fall. In 1841, he 
was nominated the Whig candidate for the State Government, ran with great 
confidence of success, and was beaten. This discomfiture was owing to 
the use that was made before the people of a vote which he gave at the 
extra session in 1841, to increase the duty on tea and coffee. An in- 
crease of revenue was at that time found indispensable to discharge the 
accumulated obligations of the Government and maintain the national 
honor untarnished. Believing it better not to increase the duties on the 
articles taxed under the tariff compromise acts, and that by taxing tea and 
coffee the new burden would fall mainly upon those most able to bear it, — 
to wit, the wealthy consumers, — he voted for an increased duty upon 
those articles. The people were told that he had voted to tax them for 
using tea and coffee, — to deprive them of two of the necessaries of life ; 
and, voters enough being found to believe these and numerous like versions 
of the matter, he was defeated. Notwithstanding that such perversions 
were made of his vote, it is not probable that he would have been beaten, 
if his friends had not relied with too much confidence upon his success. 
Believing that this result was a disapproval by the State of his course in 
Congress, and being incapable, according to his views of the relation 
between a Representative and his constituents, of holding office when his 
opinions upon leading questions of policy were not in harmony with those 
who elected him, in November, 1841, he resigned his seat. The prin- 
ciple of instruction may rightfully apply to the Representative of the people 
in the House of the people. In this case it may be questioned, however, 
whether there was a fair and deliberate expression of opinion against him. 
I am inclined to think that he might have waited for the ''sober second 
thought." He remained in private life — except the interval, as stated, 
that he was on the bench — from that time until the autumn of 1847, 
when he was elected to the Senate of the United States. 

He occupied his seat in the Senate for an entire term, commanding the 
respect of his colleagues for his ability and patriotism, their affection as a 
man, and their admiration for his assiduity as a business-member. His 
reputation, indeed, at the expiration of his term, had become national. 

His character in Congress was that of a vigilant, industrious, effective 
man of business. He spoke rarely, and, when he did take the floor, it 
was upon a question requiring action, lie was not wont to address Bun- 
combe from the halls of Congress upon abstract prupositions introduced 
for the purpose of party, or sectional, or personal effect. Whilst no man 
evinced more zeal in behalf of those rights under the Constitution which 
are peculiarly Southern, or a more unflinching determination to maintain 
them at all hazards, than himself, yet he was decidedly national in the 
general cast of his politics. His judgment was too sound to be misled by 
impracticable theories of government, however plausibly constructed or 
adroitly addressed to the strong republican sympathies of the nation, and 
his patriotism too elevated and pui:e to be weakened by the ultra demands 
of a section, however stimulated by wrongs and fortified by aggressions. 
Good sense and independence characterize his speeches. They are plain, 
unambitious of ornament, and free from cant. 

The limits assigned to this article will not admit of any notice, however 
brief, of all the measures with which his name has been creditably asso- 
ciated in the course of his Congressional career. Whilst a member of the 
House, he was Chairman of the Military Committee, and also Chairman of 
the Committee on Claims, — the latter one of the most laborious and useful 



316 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

positions appertaining to the National Legislature, and one which cannot 
be well filled but by a good lawyer and an industrious and just man. He 
whose voice is potent enough to call the attention of the House of Repre- 
sentatives away from its turbulent political struggles, and fix it upon the 
memorial of a private citizen for justice long enough and close enough 
to examine into minute facts^ must have its confidence as an officer and 
its kindly regards as a man. 

In 1840, the Whig Representatives divided upon the election for Presi- 
dent, Judge Dawson and five others — 3Iessrs. Habersham, King, Warren, 
Alford, and Nisbet — supporting General Harrison as a safe exponent of the 
principles of the Whig party, and the balance sustaining Mr. Van Burcn. 
In that agitating canvass he entered with his usual spirit and address. 
The State was carried for Harrison. 

At the opening of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Judge Dawson was put 
in nomination for the Speaker's chair. Upon the first ballot be received 
a very flattering vote. Discovering that two of his colleagues voted 
against him in consequence of a division between them on the election of 
President, he required his name to be withdrawn at once. His friends 
believed that if it had not been withdrawn he would have been elected 
to this distinguished office, for which they believed him well qualified. 

He was among the very first of those who took ground against the 
absurd theories and indelicately selfish, not to say impudent, demands of 
Kossuth, lie had the moral courage, in his place in the Senate, to con- 
demn those theories and denounce those demands, choosing rather to 
abide the counsels of Washington than the revolutionary teachings of a 
foreign exile, who, coming to our shores as a beneficiary of the nation, 
sought to repay its hospitality by arraying the people against their own 
Government, and, through the process of revolution at homc^ commit 
them to the complications of revolution abroad. 

In the latter years of his life, his position upon national politics was 
defined by himself in a speech in the Senate in the following words : — 
" It was known that he had declared that he could support no one for the 
Presidency who would not openly, plainly, and honestly declare that he 
will support the Compromise j and he would act with no party in the 
next election who is not pledged to oppose any further agitation 
of the matters embraced in it. He would not support any man nor act 
with any party who will not declare, in terms not to be mistaken, a de- 
termination to adhere firmly to the finality of the Compromise.'* He was 
twice married : his last wife, an accomplished lady of Tennessee, still sur- 
vives him. To the wife of his youth and the mother of his children he 
was indebted for much of the success of his life. 

It is at this day and in this country, so far from being humiliating, a 
source of pride for men to confess the obligations they are under to 
women. In all relations they contribute to make the fortunes of the 
sterner sex, but chiefly as mothers and wives, — as mothers, in the forma- 
tion of characters ; as wives, in seconding, by counsel and exertion, and 
inspiring by affection, the highest aims and the noblest resolves. Fortu- 
nate is the young adventurer upon the stormy sea of professional life whw 
has secured the hand and heart of an amiable and sensible woman. She 
is the truest of all friends, the safest of all advisers, and the sweetest of 
all solaces. The instinct of wedded love is equal to the conclusions of the 
profoundest wisdom. These propasitions were illustrated in the married 
life of Judge Dawson. It falls to the lot of but few men to be so signally 



WILLIAM C. DAWSON. 817 

blest in a wife as was he. She was^ without a fi^re of speech, his better 
half, and, in literal verity, his guardian angel. To use his own language, 
she was "the chief source of his happiness and success/' In 1810 he 
was married to Miss Henrietta 31. Wingfield, the daughter of Dr. Thomas 
Wingfield, an eminent physician of Greensboro, whose family, one of the 
most worthy of that ilk, emigrated to Georgia from the State of Virginia. 
With her, surrounded with their children, numerous friends, and a large 
body of relations, he enjoyed the highest degree of domestic bliss until 
the 7th day of April, 1850, when she left the duties of earth to enter 
upon the joys of heaven. She was a lady of great beauty, of refined 
tastes, easy yet dignified manners, remarkable for good sense, and dis- 
tinguished for her intense yet unostentatious piety. She possessed in a 
remarkable degree the almost indescribable quality which is indicated by 
the word " sensible,*' — a word which, in its application to women, means 
an almost intuitive perception of what is proper under all circumstances. 
Without bringing down upon herself the unpleasant observation of the 
world, or violating the delicacies peculiar to her sex and station, she, with 
consummate address, became his strongest auxiliary in every honorable 
aspiration of his life. With him she ascended gracefully to the highest 
level of social life at Washington. Knowing her well, I can with truth 
say that she never occupied a station that she did not adorn. She adapted 
herself to his circumstances, — ^gave to practical things the aid of her sound 
judgment, to the hospitalities of his house the elegancies of a cultivated 
taste, to her children the unwearied assiduities of a mother, to the poor 
profuse charity, and to God the devotion of a meek and quiet spirit. 
Judge Dawson appreciated the character of his wife, and repaid her love 
with the most marked respect and the most unremitting tenderness. 

Already it has become manifest that he was eminently social in his 
nature and habits. "Carpe diem" was with him a practical precept. He 
illustrated his gratitude to Heaven by enjoying its bounties. He was at 
home where wit and humor and harmless frolic ruled, and was happy at a 
table-speech. His house was always open to a wide circle of friends, who 
found there the comfort and repose of their own homes, the welcome of 
affection, and the courtesies of cultivated life. He trained his sons to 
honor and virtue, and his daughters to gentleness, grace, and love. But 
he is lost to bench, bar, country, and family. His body moulders into 
dost, but his memory lives, a bright and instructive entity. He fell in 
the prime of his age, ere yet the hopes of life had begun to fade or the 
orb of his intellect had begun to wane. It is true that the dial had 
begun to cast its shadow eastward ; but as yet it was short, and lengthened 
slowly. Suddenly his sun of being sunk beneath the horizon, and, lo ! 
all was shadow. The grave received with him as much of practical 
capacity, of uprightness, energy, and benevolence, as ordinarily falls to 
the lot of favored men. Many — very many — throughout the Union 
mourn his death whilst they rejoice in the healthful example of his life. 



XII. 

SEABORN DELK. 

Maxy persons who may look into this work will not expect to 
find in it the name of Seaborn Delk as the subject of biography. 
The author of course alludes to such persons as were acquainted 
with the hostile relations which existed between Col. Delk and him- 
self more than twenty years ago. He must take occasion to say 
that his nature forbids injustice even to an enemy. More than 
this ; the grave has long since hallowed a better feeling ; and, 
although there was a mutual dislike for a short period, let it be 
said they had been friends. Something of this personal affair will 
be noticed hereafter. 

The author has not been informed of the birthplace of Mr. 
Delk. It may have been in Wilkinson county, as his father, the late 
David Delk, Esq., is believed to have been the first clerk of the 
Superior Court of that county after its organization in 1807. It 
is therefore quite certain that the subject of this memoir was a 
native of Wilkinson. From his sprightly and intelligent mind, it 
is inferred that he was placed early at school and made fair 
progress in his studies. ^VTien old enough to write legibly, he as- 
sisted his father in the clerk's office in keeping up the records, 
which proved to be of great service to him in after-life. His pen- 
manship was neat, even elegant, and at the same time rapid. 

Of the incidents of his early life no account has been obtained. 
He was probably a dutiful son and warm in his friendships. 
Nothing more need be said on that subject previous to 1828, 
when the author formed his acquaintance. Mr. Delk was then a 
law-student in the office of the Hon. Lett Warren in Marion, 
Twiggs county. Both near the same age, and both hopeful of the 
future, a very cordial attachment soon grew up between Mr. Delk 
and the author. Besides their legal aspirations, they had tastes 
similar in the military line ; for, almost beardless as they were, one 
was colonel of the Wilkinson county regiment, and the other was 
a member of Major-Gcneral Wimberly's staff, — appointments most 
gratifying to their ambition. Let not older and wiser heads mock 
at the heroic mood of the two young friends. If peace continued, 

318 



SEABORN DELK. 319 

they were certain of glory at the bar, in the halls of legislation, or 
in some other bright field where reputation was to be won, just by 
the desire, with a very trifling effort. To wish earnestly for an 
object was about the same thing as having it in possession, as they 
then innocently believed. And, should war come, what a pair of 
chiefs they would make ! Yorktown and New Orleans would be 
eclipsed by their strategy ! If these two worthies were a specimen 
of youth generally in their ideas of the future, it may beaflSrmed that 
language has no word so utterly in contrast as the tender and art- 
less word ^experience and the pregnant letters remaining after 
the first syllable is detached. A gnat and an eagle are not more 
unlike in power than the fantasies of youth and the conclusions of 
age are unlike in the great concerns of life. All remember that, 
when Demosthenes was asked what was most essential to an orator, 
he replied, '* Action, action, action." So, if the question were put 
to an old man, what was the most valuable thing, what was truth, 
what did men most need to make them wise and happy, he would 
say. Experience, experience, experience. And yet this pearl is 
rarely gained until it is too late to profit by the merchandise. 
The meaning of this episode on the reveries of youth will be mani- 
fest in the course of this memoir. 

After applying himself with becoming assiduity to the studies 
prescribed, Col. Delk was admitted to the bar at Wilkinson Supe- 
rior Court, at October Term, 1828,* the Hon. 0. H. Kenan the 
presiding judge. He immediately opened a law-oflSce in his old 
village of Irwinton, amid the friends of his father and those who 
had known him from childhood. He at once obtained a respect- 
able practice. His competitors, or rather legal friends, were Robert 
Hatcher, Esq., who represented the county several years in the 
Legislature ; James P. H. Campbell, Esq., afterwards Solicitor- 
General of the Chattahoochee circuit, and Col. John S. Barry, 
late Governor of Michigan. Mr. Barry was a Northern man, and 
his first employment in Wilkinson county was that of a school- 
teacher. He read law, and obtained a license to practise a short 
time before Col. Delk came to the bar. • Being a gentlemen of 
intelligence and address, he was recommended to Gov. Forsyth for 
an aidship, which was bestowed, with the rank of lieutenant-colo- 
nel. He forthwith provided himself with military attire suitable 
for a representative of the commander-in-chief, and made quite 



* Tho Hon. J. J. Scarborough applied at the same term and was admitted at the 
fame ezamination. 



320 BENCU AND BAR OF QEORGU. 

a figure at regimental reviews. Col. Dclk took credit to him- 
self for get:ing up and supporting the request to the Governor 
which secured to Col. Barry a higher influence in society. As a 
lawyer he did not well succeed, — not from any deficiency of talent 
or legal qualifications, but mainly because he could not make him- 
self ^* a people's man." His fondness for books had inspired him 
with too much of the ideal to fraternize with rude human nature in 
its e very-day garb. After a few years he removed to the West, 
and, beyond all expectation, though not to the regret of old friends 
in Georgia, he was advanced to the Executive chair of Michigan, 
with the right to confer titles such as proved very grateful to him 
at an early period of life. 

In the year 1831, Col. Delk married Miss Coates, the only 
daughter of the late Robert Coates, Esq., of Laurens county, a 
man of considerable fortune. In 1832, he removed from Irwinton 
to Marion, to pursue his profession without being annoyed by 
loungers and idle persons, who gave him no time for study or office- 
labor in his native village. Ho was an expert in pleading and con- 
veyancing, and possessed much legal information, fluency of speech, 
and a great knowledge of human nature. Ho aimed to please all 
who might possibly bo useful to him, by adapting himself to their 
tastes. His stories were told in a natural way, both in feeling and 
in language, and he always had a stock on which to draw, to suit 
the company, or any particular individual whose favor he desired. 
He was actuated by policy in all his movements ; and he did not 
hesitate to avow tliat success was his object, without any quibbling 
as to the means. An example will be given. 

An individual, S , had killed H by a blow on the head in 

Marion. S fled, and the Governor offiered a reward of two hun- 
dred dollars for his apprehension. Col. Delk suggested to the father 

of S to have him surrendered to the sheriff* by a friend, take a 

receipt on which to obtain the reward, and pay it to him (Col. 

Delk) as a fee, and he would have S acquitted. The deed 

was done accordingly, the fugitive brought in and imprisoned, 
and Col. Delk immediately sent a young man who was living 
with him to Milledgevillc after the reward, and actually put 
it in his pocket. The case lingered many years on the docket, 
and was never tried, — the defendant in the mean time at large on 
bail. 

After his removal to Marion, Col. Delk attended all the courts 
of the Southern circuit, and by his talents and self-control soon 
attracted fees. He possessed no delicacy of feeling, and not much 



SEABORN DELE. 321 

respect for the rights of others when opposed to his own interests. 
He was in the habit of following up men who had business in court 
and putting himself before them so as to gain patronage. This he 
did from two motives,— one to benefit himself, and the other, per- 
haps, to render better service than any other member of the bar 
could afford. For it was a singular fact that his merit, though 
obvious to all, was, contrary to the usual doctrine on the subject, 
still more apparent to himself. He and the members of the bar 
generally were upon kind terms ; yet at the same time his lax 
morality was losing him the respect of many who had a different 
standard of action. 

The author has referred to a state of feeling which suspended for 
a while all amicable relations between Col. Delk and himself. How 
the matter arose, and how it terminated, will be seen by the corre- 
spondence and statements appearing in this memoir. In his reply 
to the first note of Col. Delk the author embodied the facts. On 
the interposition of mutual friends the affair was submitted. Owing 
to the imprudent, boastful remarks made by Col. Delk to the friend* 
of the author who alone was admitted into his part of the contro- 
versy, it was determined to publish the whole of it, with the evi- 
dence supporting the author's allegations. To this end the author 
had inserted a " Card" in the Southern Recorder^ about the middle 
of November, 1833, announcing his intention. To prevent its fulfil- 
ment. Col. Delk made a secret assault on the author with deadly 
weapons at Bainbridge, within the closing hour of the Superior 
Court, December 7, 1833. The grand jury immediately found a 
'* true bill" for assault with intent to murder, and Col. Delk was 
placed under bond by the court for his appearance at the next 
term. 

In reproducing this old affair, or at least such portions of it as 
are material to the merits, the author has no desire to cast even 
the shadow of reproach on the memory of Col. Delk. It had 
ample publicity at the time, and may serve as a warning to 
youth how they indulge generosity of sentiment, and what sacri- 
fices it costs to maintain a principle which all admit to be 
right enough in the abstract, but erroneous in practice, — ^the 
frankness to condemn an unworthy action, proceed from what 
quarter it may. 

The first note of Col. Delk to the author was as follows : — 



♦ William H. Yonng, Esq., now of Columbus. 
Vol. I.— 21 



322 BEXCU AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

Mabiox, 28d July, 1833. 
Sir : — I have understood that in speaking of the case lately tried in the 
Superior Court of Early county — Taylor vs. Sheffield — and the fee which 
I received in that case, you the other day used language calculated to 
affect my standing as a lawyer or gentleman^ or hoth. 

I ask, (I have the right to ask,) Was the information I received as to 
this matter true or false ^ 

Yours, respectfully, S. Dele. 

On the same day the following reply was sent to Col. 
Delk :— 

Mabiox, 28d July, 1833. 

Sir : — I have just discovered upon my table your note of this date, 
availing yourself of the right which belongs to every gentleman, when 
he feels himself injured, of calling upon the author of the supposed in- 
jury; and my attention is especially directed to any remarks I may 
have used touching your conduct in the case of Taylor against Sheffield, 
lately tried in the Superior Court of Early county, and which may have 
been ^^ calculated to affect your standing as a lawyer or gentleman^ or 
liothr 

That I have detailed facts, connected with the case mentioned, both in 
your presence and elsewhere, which had the tendency to rebuke the part 
you acted, I pretend not to deny; for, if your memory is faithful, yon 
have not forgotten the language I addrc&^ed to both yourself and Mr. 
Sturges, your respected associate, when the judgment was in a course of 
payment, and which is substantially the same I have indulged in respect- 
ing your interest in that case. What are those facts f At the term of 
Early Superior Court, in December last, the plaintiff, deserted by his 
original counsel, took you and Mr. Sturges into his case, upon the terms 
(so far as you wore concerned, as I learnt from your declarations) that he 
was to pay you twenty-five dollars as a fee certain, and one-half of the 
recovery. 

The verdict exceeded greatly what was generally expected, although 
the evidence presented an aggravated case of criminal conversation with 
the plaintiff's wife ; yet the rank of the parties and her bad character 
went much in mitigation with the public : still, a verdict for SlUOO was 
returned, the whole proceeds of which were afterward assigned by the 
plaintiff, in my presence, to you and Mr. Sturges jointly. When you 
requested me to witness the assignment, having heard it read, I observed, 
rather seriously, that I would nut attest such an iniquitous transaction ; 
to which you replied that, when the money should be collected, you 
intended to give the old man (the plaintiff) something. I then became a 
witness. 

At that time I considered the writing, conveying the whole judgment, 
merely as an expedient to defeat John Taylor's claim for services rendered 
in bringing the action and collecting the testimony at much trouble and 
expense on the first, and preparatory to the second, trial. Indeed, it 
was doubtful whether any money could be realized upon the judgment, as 
the defendant had sold his property in Georgia (as was generally reported) 
and had taken up his residence in Florida ; but, at the late term of that 
court, the defendant's brother, Mr. Bryan Sheffield, offered to pay eight 
hundred dollars as a compromise, rather than have certain property mo- 
lested which he claimed through the defendant. To this you and Mr. 



SBABORN DELK. 823 

Stnrgcs agreed^ — a portion to be paid in bcef-cattle and the balance at the 
fall. 

This being adjusted, and hearing from jou and Mr. Sturges that it was 
your mutual intention to appropriate the whole collection to yourselves, I 
asked you both if it could be possible that you were going to cut the poor, 
old, helpless plaintiff out of every cent, by enforcing the literal terms of 
the assignment. You both answered affirmatively, and said that you 
might perhaps give him something, a very small sum indeed, to be upon 
the open and express footing of a gift, — not that he had a shadow of claim 
or right to any part of the judgment. I candidly and at the instant, to 
both your faces, reprobated the proceeding as unfair, oppressive, and unpro- 
fessional. This of course enlisted some feeling, and the remark from Mr. 
Sturges, of which you approved, that I was officiously meddling with your 
business, and that I was prompted by envy. I scorned the imputation to 
your very teeth, and told you that you both were far from being objects 
of envy with me ; when you qualified, and said that I envied your pros- 
perity, — meaning the exorbitant gains you were about to pocket. To this 
r added that I took pleasure in seeing my brethren of the profession 
succeed, but that I would not dishonor myself nor stain the profession for 
any emoluments it afforded, and that I viewed your act then in contention 
as one that would reflect unfavorably upon yourselves and the profession. 
I repeated this conviction to several members of the bar then at court ; 
and, as I do not wish to identify them with my position, I shall not refer 
to their sentiments. 

To continue a statement of the facts which influenced my remarks 
respecting your conduct, I press upon your recollection the scene between 
yourself and the plaintiff, when he respectfully and in the most friendly 
manner made inquiry how the judgment was progressing, and what was 
the prospect of its settlement. You told him that he had no interest or 
share in it; that he had transferred the whole amount to yourself and Mr. 
Sturges. The plaintiff expressed surprise, and said that you must have 
been jesting with him ; that he admitted you and Mr. Sturges had full 
control of the judgment, and, apparently, for your private use ; but that 
the contract was that half of th^ amount recovered should be equally 
divided between you both, — trusting to your honor, — and the other half 
to belong to himself. Whereupon you declared he was a liar, and, with 
a vulgar and irreverent oath, that since he denied the contract you would 
not give him one cent; that you and Mr. Sturges had previously intended 
to give him a hundred dollars each ; but, as it was, you would see him in 
perdition before you would give him a cent. This was heard by several 
persons, and myself among the number, which I presume you will not deny. 

What I have stated in substance became the open and spirited topic 
of conversation before and after you left the court, and convinced mo 
that the profession suffered in the estimation of the plain, honest, and 
useful citizens of the country by the act of which I have given a 
history. They denounced it as fraud and oppression, and expressed a 
general distrust of the integrity of the members of the bar, that they 
would take all advantages of their clients and others, however ruinous 
or foul. Upon the score of labor, and therefore of justice, your remarks 
to the jury who tried the case will furnish the best illustration. In 
apologizing to the jury for the imperfections of your address, you stated 
to them that you had not bestowed an hour*s attention on the case pre- 
vious to the investigation then going on, — that your knowledge of the case 



324 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

was just such as the jury possessed, all gathered from the evidence then 
suhmitted. Now, sir, I state these facts as wholly disconnected with 
speculation, which readily admit of proof; and suppose, for argument, 
that the written transfer which you possess set forth the contract truly, 
is there such a want of generosity, nohleness, and high-toned feeling in 
memhcrs of the har, that they must distress the poor and insult puhlic 
opinion, hazard their own standing, and tarnish the respectability of their 
calling, merely for money, and that, too, eight times in excess of what 
they expected reasonably to obtain ? You stated that before the jury 
made known their finding you did not calculate upon a verdict exceed- 
ing a hundred dollars. You could have satisfied the desolate and poverty- 
stricken old man, your client, and then you and Mr. Sturges could have 
had two hundred dollars each, fairly, — an ample compensation for the 
speech you made, although perhaps as able as it was short. You and Mr. 
Sturges justified your conduct still further (probably not in earnest) bj 
stating it was your ability and eloquence operating upon the jury which 
secured such heavy damages. Admitting that you both displayed un- 
rivalled talents and skill in the management of the case, (perhaps a com- 
pliment which your modesty would decline, j still, the latter sum ought to 
be, in all conscience, a most satisfactory equivalent. 

Entertaining the opinion so evident in what I have already said to you 
upon the subject, I have made known to a few persons since my return 
home, particularly since your drove of beef-cattle paraded the streets of 
Marion for several days, much to the curiosity of its inhabitants^ the true 
state of the case as it is submitted to you, and may have given my 
judgment freely to the gentlemen with whom I conversed. The informa- 
tion you sought is afforded ; but I disclaim, in all that I have said in re- 
lation to the matter, having been actuated by jealousy of your prospects at 
the bar, or rank as a politician, or by feelings of personal disfavor. The 
act itself provoked my comments and relations : 1 wish to see the profes- 
sion honorable and exalted as it ought to be, as are some of its members ; 
and I will ever war against a certain species of hard-hearted and avari- 
cious conduct of which some have been guilty ; and, whether I live or 
perish, my principles are my only fortune, and these I will claim and de- 
fend irrespective of persons. 

To your call thus far have I responded. What course you design for 
the future as a punishment for my frankness, I know not: neither is it a 
matter of much solicitude with me. I repeat what I have heretofore said 
in relation to the subject of the dispute: my remarks would have been the 
same, had another acted as you have done. If you feel wronged, and con- 
sider my disclosures unjustifiable, you may select what channel of redress 
is most suitable to the occasion, and it will remain for me either to fur- 
nish that redress, or make such provision as the exigency may require. Be 
assured, sir, that I am satisfied with my statements : I retract none ; and, 
as I invite no bitter, painful warfare, I shall not feel terrified at the pro- 
posal of any. 

I am, sir, with due respect, your obedient servant, 

Stephen F. Miller. 

While the controversy was pending, and before any decisive 
action, the author received the following letter, nobly lending the 
authority of the writer's name to prevent a fatal issue : — 



SEABORN DELK. 825 

BuNKKB Hill, August 19, 1833. 

Dear Sir : — When at town yest<3rday, I regret to say that I heard that 
there existed between yourself and Col. Delk an unfortunate difference, 
characterized by violent feelings on either side, and that our friends below 
had reason to apprehend serious consequences might grow out of it. No- 
thing could have been more unexpected to me. It appears to me that be- 
tween you and Col. Delk such a state of things should not be cherished, nor 
allowed to continue long, under almost any circumstances. There certainly 
can be no reason which would justify permanent and lasting hostility be- 
tween you ; and I do hope that neither of you will look upon the other as sworn 
and incorrigible enemies, until your friends shall make an effort to reconcile 
and adjust the affair. Our pride, you should recollect, has such an influence 
upon us all as to disqualify us, in what are called affaii's of honor, from doing 
even justice to our opponent. Without passing upon the merits of the 
unfortunate controversy, allow me in kindness to say that you both may 
be wrong, as is generally the case between those who have been hitherto 
friends. tSo sincere is my friendship for you both, and so sensible am I 
that difficulties between old friends, terminate as they may, never result 
to the advantage of either, that I have ventured this morning to write to 
you both a letter of the same description, begging of you to leave the whole 
affair to those whom you know to be your mutual friends. You owe it to 
your families and to your friends, to consult your reason and to rebuke 
your passions and your excited feelings. I repeat, if this matter cannot 
be sooner amicably terminated, for the sake of your families and your 
friends, allow it to rest until your court, when we all shall have an oppor- 
tunity to take upon ourselves that responsibility (by your permission) 
which it is always incumbent upon those who are really friends to do iu 
the settlement of difficulties between men whose interest it is to encourage 
and maintain an amicable relation. 

I am, with much respect, 3'our friend, 

John II. Howard. 

P. S. — Please write to me giving me assurances that my request shall 
be granted. I make the same postscript to the letter written to Col. 
Delk. J. H. II. 

In his letter of August 23, 1833, thanking Major Howard for his 
honorable proposition, the author gave a history of the dispute, 
and closed with the following paragraph : — 

I must apologize for my tediousness : the character of our profession is 
so severely estimated by the people at large, that it is my resolution, so 
far as I can effect it, to place it high and beyond reproach. To be gene- 
rous and self-denying, to toil for reputation and not to seek it, pre- 
ferring ultimate honor to present gains, — these are my views, — at least, 
such as govern my course, and such as the brightest stars of our vocation 
have practised upon, and to which they are indebted for their eminence 
and renown. 

In another part of the same letter to Major Howard, the author 
said : — 

My conduct, I am sure, will stand examination. 1 feel envious toward 
no man, however elevated, as that is a passion which withers the finest 



826 BENCH AND BAR OF GEORGIA. 

qualities of our nature, and is therefore to be carefully suppressed. What, 
in the name of honor, even of common sense, is there in my adversary to 
awaken my jealousy, (were I so mean as to feel it of particular persons,) 
which would make it an object to supplant him ? He is not of that 
mould which pleases me : he has not that professional loftiness, dignity, 
address, and emulation which I covet. As to his practice, it gave me 
pleasure to witness his success. I do not grasp after business, concluding 
that when I deserve it my harvest will arrive. I merely use these hints 
to shield me from an uncharitable and unjust imputation. 

This much has been extracted to show certain opinions of the 
author at the time, and which he has never thought proper since 
to abandon, however they may w^ork in a pecuniary sense. Know- 
ing that his ideas on the subject were a little peculiar, he ventured 
to give the sources from whence they were derived ; and he reiterates 
the assertion that, if he is not orthodox on the subject, he has been 
led into hereby in a manner he now proceeds to explain. 

As a reason for coming before the public with the difficulty be- 
tween Col. Dclk and himself, the author referred to early impres- 
sions as being too strong for his manhood to resist. In a sort of 
preface to the correspondence, dated November 4, 1833, the 
author remarked : — 

The depravity of man has been a constant subject for all ages to harp 
upon, and, so far as respects a spiritual kind, may be and no doubt is per- 
fectly true ; yet in charity and good faith, with abundant evidence before 
me, I do believe that integrity, honor, and beneficence are active virtues 
in many members of the profession of the law, and that the impressions I 
received early in life of the character and influence of such members 
are not to be effaced by the opposite conduct of others. When quite a 
youth, just passing the line of boyhood, I was deeply and earnestly in- 
terested in hearing of the fame and ability of two distinguished gentlemen 
of the bar in my native State; and, as I had an opportunity of hearing 
them in the courts, I felt that their celebrity was just. Who has not 
heard of William Gaston and John Stanly of North Carolina, men 
whose talents, virtues, and accomplishments would have made them emi- 
nent and beloved in any country ? They were models of all that was 
commanding and perfect at the bar, — dignified, graceful, learned, and 
eloquent : when they appeared in a cause, the crowd to hear them was 
always great, and the anxiety of the spectators intense and untiring. 
Such were the legal advocates I first heard in my lifej and never shal